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Department of Human Services

South Australian Housing Trust

Water policy

The purpose of this policy

The policy explains how water supply, sewerage and water use charges are paid for in South Australia Housing Trust (SAHT) rental properties. Housing SA manages these properties on behalf of the SAHT.

Housing SA's responsibilities

Housing SA will:

  • pay water supply and sewerage charges for its rental properties
  • pay water use charges for its rental properties, and recover the amount from tenants except if an exemption applies
  • make sure that maintenance to water and sewerage systems on SAHT properties is carried out and paid for according to the Cost of Maintenance - Party Responsible policy.

Water use charges

The applicable water company - eg SA Water, charges Housing SA for the water used at its properties. Housing SA pays these charges and the invoices sent to tenants are based on these charges. If a tenant is eligible for a state government water remission or concession, this amount is deducted from the invoice before it's sent to the tenant.

Tenants receive a water use invoice from Housing SA twice a year and at the end of their tenancy.

Customer charges are determined by:

  • Housing SA
  • regulations under the South Australian Housing Trust Act 1995.

Exemption from water use charges

Housing SA may exempt tenancies and properties from water use charges in some circumstances.

Water use charges for properties with a separate water meter

Tenants living in a property with a separate water meter are responsible for the total water use charge.

Water use charges for properties with a shared water meter

If a property shares a water meter with other properties, Housing SA will pay for the first 30% of the water use invoice. This is Housing SA's landlord contribution. It takes into account the costs associated with:

  • repairing minor leaks
  • maintaining common gardens and shared laundries
  • differences in household sizes.

The remainder is averaged across the tenancies.

Tenants aren't allowed to install their own private water meters.

Special needs and circumstances

Households with special needs

If someone in a tenant's household has special needs that contribute to exceptionally high water use - eg a medical condition that requires frequent bathing or frequent washing of bed linen and clothes, they may be eligible for a special water allowance.

Under the special water allowance, Housing SA may pay part or all of a tenant's water use invoice. Housing SA periodically reviews a tenant's eligibility for this allowance.

Special circumstances

If a tenant lives in a property with a shared water meter, Housing SA may pay part or all of their water use invoice if there is a good and substantial reason why the tenant hasn't paid the total amount - eg they have been hospitalised, they have been working away from home for an extended period. Tenants must apply using the Water Usage Credit form.

Disputing water use charges

Housing SA investigates disputed water use charges.

If a leak or other maintenance work has affected the amount of water used at a property, Housing SA may pay an amount of the tenant's water use invoice. This amount is based on the tenant's previous water use.

Paying water use invoices

Tenants must pay their water use invoices either:

  • within 14 days of the date of the invoice
  • in instalments as part of a debt repayment agreement negotiated with Housing SA.

If a tenant has caused damage to a water or sewerage system, they are responsible for paying for the costs associated with its repair.

Related laws, policies and documents

Controlling documents

This policy is based on and complies with:

Supporting guidelines

  • Water guidelines v 1

Related policies and other documents

  • Water guidelines
  • Debt policy
  • Insurance reporting policy
  • Maintenance (cost of maintenance party responsible) policy

Date this policy applies from

30 March 2016

Version number


The online version of the policy is the approved and current version. There is no guarantee that any printed copies are current.

State Government of South Australia © Copyright DHS [sm v5.4.7.1] .

Provided by:
SA Department for Human Services
Last Updated:
05 Jul 2018
Printed on:
19 Jun 2019
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