Water Industry Act 2012
Water Industry Act consultation
The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources is consulting on draft Water Industry Regulations and a proposed designation of irrigation services to be made under the Water Industry Act 2012.
You are invited to review the draft regulations and proposed designation during the consultation period ending on 2 November 2012.
The Water Industry Act 2012 provides the legislative framework to support a contemporary and emerging water industry by promoting efficiency, competition and innovation, while protecting the interests of consumers, public health and the environment. The Act, which passed the Parliament and received Royal Assent in April 2012, was developed following extensive public consultation in 2009 on a discussion paper about the reform of South Australia’s water industry legislation, and further consultation on a draft Water Industry Bill in 2010.
Proposed Water Industry Regulations
Regulations are required to support the effective operation of the Act and it is proposed that the Water Industry Regulations 2012 will apply from 1 January 2013. They have been prepared to provide further operational detail and to ‘enliven’ certain provisions of the Act. An explanatory paper has been prepared as a guide to the draft regulations.
Following consultation, the draft regulations will be reviewed and revised as required. The Government intends to submit the draft regulations to His Excellency the Governor for making in December 2012, in time to support the effective operation of the Water Industry Act 2012 from 1 January 2013, when the licensing requirements and technical regulation provisions of the Act will apply.
Designation of irrigation services
The Water Industry Act 2012 does not apply to South Australia’s irrigation trusts, which are subject to dedicated irrigation legislation – the Irrigation Act 2009 and the Renmark Irrigation Trust Act 2009 – as well as to the Commonwealth Water Act 2007. The majority of irrigation services supporting primary production in South Australia are provided by irrigation trusts, and these are excluded from the operation of the Act via section 5(2)(a) and (b).
Section 5(2)(c) of the Act provides for the Minister to designate, by a notice published in the South Australian Government Gazette, other irrigation services to which the Act does not apply. This provision was added following consultation on the draft Water Industry Bill specifically to allow the Minister to exempt entities who legally may not be an ‘irrigation trust’ but whose activities are, essentially, the same.
Under South Australia’s irrigation legislation, the primary focus of an irrigation trust is to provide an irrigation system or a drainage system (or both) in connection with the business of primary production conducted by the members of the trust. Although an irrigation trust may provide other services (that is, irrigation services not related to the business of primary production), these other services are not the main activities of the trust.
The objective is to exclude from the application of the Water Industry Act 2012 other irrigation services that conduct similar activities to irrigation trusts. In this respect, it is proposed to designate irrigation services that sell or supply water where that water will be used primarily for primary production purposes.
The proposed designation would be made this year to take effect from 1 January 2013. Making this designation will assist stakeholders to determine whether they need to apply to the Essential Services Commission of South Australia for licence under the Water Industry Act 2012.
How to make a submission
The Department welcomes written submissions on the draft Water Industry Regulations 2012 and the proposed designation of irrigation services. The Department is also available to meet with interested stakeholders during the consultation period to discuss these proposals. Submissions should be addressed to:
Water Industry Legislation
Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
GPO Box 2834
ADELAIDE SA 5001
Consultation closes 2 November 2012.
For more information please view the following documents or phone the Department on (08) 8463 6800: