Woman sitting behind table at home kitchen, checking water bill, making calculations on calculator, paying utilities on laptop.

Average Water Bills In Adelaide

Residents in Adelaide are facing an impending rise in their water bills, following the recent submission by SA Water to increase charges. Starting from July 2024, bills are projected to escalate by an additional 3.5 per cent above the current rate of inflation. This adjustment could result in homeowners paying an extra $71 annually for the next four years, a notable increment given the inflation rate of 5.4 per cent over the past twelve months.

The rationale behind this monetary shift is SA Water’s commitment to preserve the quality of service as well as satisfy expenditure demands. As an integral part of the South Australian infrastructure, the water provider recognises the balance that must be struck between reliable service delivery and the financial strain borne by consumers. The prospect of these higher costs is a source of concern for many households, especially as they strive to manage rising living expenses.

For the average family in Adelaide, water is not only a daily necessity but also a considerable expense in the household budget. With the proposed fee hike, daily activities such as gardening, which can help mitigate other living costs, might become significantly pricier. SA Water’s proposition and its implications on Adelaide households are under examination by the state’s Essential Services Commission (ESCOSA), which will signal its position through a draft determination expected shortly, followed by a final decision before the new financial period begins.

Average Water Costs

Consumers in Adelaide typically see a monthly water bill of around $114, representing a significant household expense. This section breaks down the elements contributing to the overall expense of water for Adelaide residents.

Water Cost Components

In Adelaide, the financial impact for water consists of two primary charges: a consistent supply charge and a variable usage rate. SA Water sets an annual supply charge for providing access to water services. During the 2023-24 period, every household faces an annual sum of $296.80, which gets billed quarterly at $74.20.

Water usage fees hinge on the quantity consumed. The pricing structure adapts to three usage tiers, influencing the cost per kilolitre (kL). The incentive for such tiered pricing models is to encourage conservative usage. The rates are:

  • Tier 1: $2.126/kL for daily use up to 383.6 litres
  • Tier 2: $3.035/kL for daily use between 383.6 litres and 1424.7 litres
  • Tier 3: $3.288/kL for daily use beyond 1424.7 litres

These tiers reflect an escalated price for higher water usage, effectively a usage threshold system.

Each of these rates increased by 4.8 per cent from the previous year, a reflection of inflation and operational costs. Daily thresholds are an effective approach given the variability in meter reading intervals.

For people not connected to the water network but with access to it, the rating on abuttal charge comes into play. This charge exists because the service potential already caters to their property’s needs regardless of actual usage.

Homeowners using recycled water for irrigation or toilet flushing benefit from a decreased cost of $1.913/kL, representing 90 per cent of Tier 1’s rate.

Usage data shows the average household uses about 180kL per year. However, factors such as the number of residents, appliance efficiency, garden size, and seasonality can greatly affect consumption levels.

Factors Affecting Water Bills in Adelaide

Residents of Adelaide should be aware of several key contributors to their water bills. Firstly, water consumption plays a significant role. Measured in kilolitres, high usage can markedly increase bills. During summer, water demand often surges due to garden watering and filling pools, consequently raising costs.

In contrast, winter typically sees a decrease in water use, meaning bills can be reduced. Leaks in the home are also culprits of high water bills. Leaky taps and pipes can lead to unintended water usage, so regular checks are recommended.

State-wide guidelines and surveys have found that an average household’s water bill is influenced not just by direct water use but by infrastructure needs and service standards set by water providers such as SA Water. The pricing, as suggested by SA Water, could see a $71 annual increase for the average user to address required asset management and meet expenditure needs.

Households in Adelaide’s outer suburbs can anticipate additional costs due to new water connections being planned, aiming to support housing affordability and supply.

Comparing South Australia’s water charges with other states, residents in metropolitan Adelaide face different costs than those in either regional areas of South Australia or the broader areas of the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, and Queensland.

The data indicates a variation between costs in metropolitan and country areas due to different infrastructural and delivery challenges.

While the price change might not seem much, the situation is pressed further by economic conditions, especially inflation. If inflation rates change, as projected, this too could alter water and sewage bill estimations. In response to all these considerations, SA Water is proposing a bill increase which ensures the balance between maintaining service quality and managing cost pressures faced by consumers.

water is dripping from metal tap

Tips for Reducing Your Bills & Savings

Water conservation is critical in Adelaide homes to reduce the average water bill. Households can adopt several simple yet effective strategies to save water and money.

Consider installing water-efficient appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. Look for products with high Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) ratings. These appliances use less water and energy without compromising on performance.

In gardens, selecting local, drought-resistant plants and utilising mulch can reduce the need for frequent watering. Timers or drip irrigation systems provide water directly to the plant roots, cutting down excess usage. Homes can also conserve water by reusing greywater from baths, showers, and laundry for irrigation purposes, or by installing a rainwater tank.

Simple changes in the bathroom can also have a big impact. A water-saving showerhead can cut down the amount of water used without affecting the water pressure. Switching to a dual-flush toilet can lead to considerable water savings. Encouraging family members to take shorter showers and turning the tap off while brushing teeth are daily habits that contribute to water conservation.

Here are key fixes and habits that can lead to savings:

  • Replace leaky taps and pipes promptly.
  • Use an aerator on taps to reduce flow without losing water pressure.
  • Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
  • If washing dishes by hand, do not leave the tap running.
  • Use a plug in the sink or a basin to wash dishes.

Financial Support is available if needed. The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) provides finance for purchasing water-efficient appliances, supporting households to conserve water.

By taking these steps, households can enhance their water efficiency and save money. A local plumber can help with checking and fixing any leaky pipes, as well as correctly installing water-saving devices.

An audit of water use might also reveal other specific areas where a household can become more water-wise. These efforts help in reducing costs as well as contributing to the conservation of water as a precious resource.


Adelaide’s current water cost structure is designed with sustainability in mind, which plays a crucial role in maintaining water quality and infrastructure. The proposed increase in water prices is aimed at enhancing the long-term resilience of water services. With households across South Australia already feeling the cost of living pinch, the additional costs from the proposed price increase could be significant, but are essential for maintaining infrastructure and water quality​

By adopting water-efficient habits and utilising water-saving devices, households can witness a noticeable reduction in their monthly bills.

To help manage these costs, residents can adopt several water-saving strategies. For example, using water-efficient appliances and putting a timer on family hot showers can reduce consumption significantly. These measures not only help in managing the cost impact of the proposed water price increase but also contribute to the overall conservation of water resources, ensuring that Adelaide’s water system remains robust and reliable for future generations.