Using water wisely

In response to ongoing drought conditions, the South Australian Government constantly assesses availability and use of our water supplies. From time to time water restrictions are necessary to help conserve our water reserves including the River Murray.

Water restrictions can impact on activities such as the watering of gardens and lawns, car washing, the filling of pools and spas and washing of areas such as paving, decking and external house structures.

With simple measures to maintain hygiene and appropriate use of alternative water supplies there should be minimal risk to health.

Water conservation, things you need to know

While water conservation measures are important, they shouldn’t create a risk to public health. In most cases water conservation practices can be safely and effectively undertaken however consideration must be given to potential public health impacts of certain activities.

Basic hygiene must be maintained. This can be achieved while complying with water restrictions providing simple measures are adopted. In certain circumstances where public health is at risk, SA Water may allow exemptions from restrictions.


Greywater is wastewater generated from bathrooms, laundries and kitchens. Kitchen water can contain food particles, grease, oils and fats and is generally not recommended for use. See the Greywater page for potential risks when using greywater as well as how and where you can safely use greywater.

Sharing of bath water

Bathing children together or sharing bathwater is a common family practice. While this activity saves water and is harmless when people are well, there is a risk of spreading illness if bath water is shared when a person is suffering from an infectious disease or diarrhoea.

Bath water should not be shared while a person has infectious diarrhoea and for 14 days after symptoms have stopped.

Diseases such as Cryptosporidiosis can be spread from swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

Pools and spas

It’s important that pools and spas are maintained correctly including water replacement to ensure that water quality remains safe for use. 

Pools and spas can be safely filled with:

  • mains water - unless restrictions prevent this
  • rainwater - provided the tank and catchment area are properly maintained

Bore or surface water is not appropriate for filling pools and spas unless the water has been tested and/or treated. See the following pages for information on how to safely maintain your pool of spa:

Wading or paddling pools

Wading pools need to be used in accordance with any water restrictions in place. Leaving water in wading pools for later use can help save water but may create a health and safety risk.

Take the safest option and empty the wading pool after use and refill it next time. The water can be used to water plants, lawns or for washing the car.

Don't share or reuse the water after a child with diarrhoea has used the pool. Also do not allow water to become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Collection of water in buckets or similar devices

Although the collection of buckets of greywater or rainwater is encouraged as a means of water conservation, it is important to recognise the risks of storing water.

Parents should be aware that water stored in oversized buckets, wheelie bins or other devices can become a drowning hazard for young children. These containers should be emptied between uses or secure barriers to prevent access by children should be installed.

Water stored outdoors can provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Water containers should be inspected for larvae regularly and emptied every few days to prevent adult mosquitoes from hatching. Storages should have secure lids to prevent mosquito breeding.

Further information

For further information on water restrictions, including ways to help conserve water, contact: