Water supply restriction

Your water can’t be disconnected, but your water flow can be severely restricted. However, your water retailer must give you fair notice before restricting your water.

First they send you a reminder notice that gives you 5 business days to fix the problem and tells you the next steps if you don’t or can’t fix it.

If the problem isn’t fixed, your retailer then sends a warning (a ‘restriction notice’) that they’ll restrict your water in 10 business days.

These warnings must include information on how the Energy and Water Ombudsman (EWOQ) can help you.

What to do when you get a notice

If you receive a notice, contact your retailer straight away because they might be able to help you.

If you’re having trouble paying your bill, you might be able to:

  • ask for a payment plan
  • find out if you’re eligible for any rebates or concessions
  • get access to a financial hardship program
  • get information about financial counselling
  • ask for a water audit to see where you can save money on water use.

When they can restrict your water

Your retailer can restrict your water supply if:

  • you don’t pay a bill or security deposit, or don’t pay for connection to your property
  • they’ve sent you at least 2 reminders and you haven’t contacted them for help about paying the account
  • if you haven’t kept up with an agreed payment plan and missed more than 1 payment in a year.

When they can’t restrict your water

Your retailer can’t restrict your water if:

  • your property is registered as a ‘special needs’ premises
  • restriction would reduce the flow rate to less than the minimum rate allowed - least 10 litres per minute at the tap nearest to the water meter
  • you’re less than 1 month behind in your payments
  • it’s been less than 1 month since the retailer asked you to pay your security deposit
  • the retailer hasn’t sent you a notice about the restriction
  • a local fire ban or state of fire emergency has been declared where your property is located
  • EWOQ or another dispute resolution organisation is already investigating the restriction.

Getting your water supply restored

Call your water retailer as soon as you realise your water has been restricted.

You usually need to pay something towards your bill or organise a payment plan before the retailer will lift the water restriction.

They might also charge you a fee. You’ll pay more if you want them to restore your water supply outside business hours.

You might also need to pay a security deposit.

How we can help

If your water is about to be restricted and you can’t pay your bill, we can:

  • try to get you more time to pay
  • help you get an affordable payment plan
  • put you in touch with organisations that provide emergency funds
  • give you information about financial assistance and how to save money on your bills
  • ask the retailer to delay the restriction while you get financial assistance.

If your water supply has already been restricted, we can check that the restriction was legal and try to help you get it restored