At a glance
South Australia’s reservoir reserves are full of adventure – and are yours to enjoy and explore.
We need your help to preserve these special places, ensure the safety of other visitors, and protect our drinking water. Ahead of your next visit, please be aware:
Swimming and immersion in water, are not permitted at any of our reservoirs, because it involves prolonged contact with the water. This kind of contact increases the risk of harmful pathogens, carried by humans, contaminating the water. For the same reason, other activities that involve wading above the knee or present a high chance of falling or jumping in the water, such as windsurfing or paddleboarding, are not permitted.
You may temporarily wade below the knee only for the purposes of launching your canoe or kayak, and to retrieve or release a fish. When carrying out any of these activities, please limit your contact with the water as much as possible to help:
- keep yourself safe from potential effects of blue-green algae which may be present in the water, and can be toxic to people and animals
- reduce the risk of water contamination.
Visit the SA Health website for more information about blue-green algae health impacts and how to avoid illness.
Dogs – with the exception of assistance dogs – are not permitted at reservoir reserves in South Australia. They can carry bacteria and viruses that could easily contaminate the water and present a risk to the safety of the drinking water. Dogs also pose a threat to local native animals. We encourage dog owners to instead make use of a dedicated dog park in their local area.
Horse riding is not permitted in reservoir reserves. This is to prevent manure introducing bacteria, viruses or weeds to the catchment, and to prevent erosion.
Row boats, sailing boats and dinghies are not permitted on our reservoirs. There are no safe launch facilities, and these larger vessels can damage the sensitive aquatic shoreline environment, disturbing sediment, nutrients, and organics, which increase algal growth and can cause water quality issues. Stand-up paddleboards and inflatable toys are also not permitted, as there’s a high likelihood of deliberate and prolonged contact with the water. Canoes and kayaks are the only type of watercraft permitted on our reservoirs.
Motorised craft of any nature (petrol or electric, whether on a kayak or boat) including motorised remote-control vessels are not permitted on our reservoirs, to ensure the safety of all users and the quality of the drinking water.
Camping is not permitted at any of our reservoir reserves, which have set opening and closing times, and no facilities or infrastructure to safely manage overnight accommodation.
We ask you to please respect the natural environment and be considerate of other visitors and our neighbours by:
- not smoking
- staying on the trail paths and within the designated access areas
- only leaving your footprints behind – please take your rubbish with you
- using designated toilet facilities as needed – no 'bush toilets'
- not flying drones
- only fishing when holding a current fishing permit
- using the launch areas for canoes and kayaks.
1. Conditions of access
SA Water owns, operates and manages reservoir reserves on behalf of all South Australians, to ensure the reliable supply of safe, clean drinking water to more than 1.7 million people. Please enjoy, explore and preserve our reservoir reserves, so everyone has a great experience here.
Entry to an SA Water site is subject to the following conditions, unless expressly agreed by SA Water.
1.1 Using reservoir reserves for recreation
Access conditions – General
(a) When on an SA Water site, it is your general obligation to act reasonably and responsibly, and be considerate of others.
(b) When on an SA Water site, you must comply with any directions given by SA Water personnel or with instructions shown on any signs.
(c) When on an SA Water site, you must carry valid identification.
(d) When on an SA Water site, you are responsible for your own health and safety. You must look out for hazards on land and in the water, such as uneven surfaces, submerged objects, fallen branches, native fauna or sharp objects.
(e) You may only enter or exit an SA Water site by the entrance or exit provided unless there is an emergency.
(f) You must leave all areas and facilities as you found them, take all rubbish or ensure you place it in bins, if provided.
(g) You may only access SA Water land and waters designated for public access, as gazetted and indicated by signs or other site markers.
(h) SA Water may instruct you to immediately leave an SA Water site, where you have breached the access conditions, where SA Water reasonably suspects access conditions have been breached or for any other safety or operational related reason.
(i) Infringement or non-compliance with access or permit conditions may result in an expiation of $315 or a maximum penalty of $2,500. SA Water may recover from you expenses incurred to fix a breach of the conditions of access or damages for a loss suffered.
1.2 Opening hours
You may only enter an SA Water site during opening hours. Outside these times, you must not enter or remain on an SA Water site.
Unless indicated otherwise, opening hours are:
- Standard Time, 7.30am - 5pm
- Daylight Saving Time, 7.30am - 8pm.
On occasion, reservoirs and/or their reserves may be closed due to poor weather, fire danger or operational requirements.
Regardless of signage, SA Water sites will be closed in the following circumstances:
- when the gates are closed/locked
- on Total Fire Ban days (as determined by the Country Fire Service). Ahead of visiting a reservoir reserve, please check the CFS website for fire danger ratings
- for maintenance and operational activities
- where necessary to undertake land management work
- in the interest of public safety.
- For your safety, visitors are advised to wash their hands after contact with the water and to clean any caught fish thoroughly before eating during periods of increased blue-green algae levels in reservoirs.
- At times, algal management activities may be required to help reduce levels, resulting in a half day closure of the reservoir reserve.
1.4 Fishing conditions
Before visiting a reservoir reserve, please check the reservoir’s page on this website, for up-to-date site notifications and information.
Fishing access is only permitted for the purpose of recreational fishing and is subject to your compliance with the conditions of the fishing permit at all times.
(a) You must comply with all conditions of access when on an SA Water site.
(b) You must have your valid permit and identification with you whenever you are fishing or carrying fishing gear at a reservoir.
(c) Children 16 years and under do not require a permit if on-site with a permit holder.
(d) You may only fish from areas designated as available for fishing as gazetted and indicated on site signage and markers.
(e) You must not enter the water above knee height and wading below the knees must be temporary and only to retrieve or release a fish. If fishing from the shoreline, you must not enter the water to cast or retrieve your lure.
(f) Only ‘rod and reel’ fishing is permitted. Fishing nets or traps are not permitted (i.e. for yabbying or other similar purposes).
(g) Hand-cranked electric reels may be used where fitted to a conventional recreational fishing rod. Commercial fishing equipment is not permitted.
(h) Fishing with artificial lures and flies is permitted and preferred.
(i) If using bait, you must bring your own to site. Bait must not be collected from the reservoir reserve.
(j) The use of burley and/or fish attractants (including liquid, spray on or scented attractants) or baits associated with netting and trapping is prohibited.
(k) Fish must not be cleaned on an SA Water site nor any part of the fish (alive or dead) left at the reservoir.
(l) Carp, Redfin and other prescribed (non-native) species are not to be returned to the water and must be removed from site.
(m) Native species may only be returned to the water alive.
(n) Fishing limits are detailed on PIRSA’s website.
(o) This permit is for recreational fishing only, you must not sell your catch.
(p) You must adhere to all relevant legislation when accessing an SA Water site including the Fisheries Management Act 2007 , the Marine Safety Act 2013, the Harbours and Navigation Act 1993 and all associated regulations.
(q) While on an SA Water site, you must comply with any directions given by SA Water or local government personnel or with instructions shown on any signs.
(r) You must leave all areas and facilities as you found them, take all rubbish and waste with you, or place in bins, if provided.
Fishing permit holders acknowledge and accept that:
(a) Entry to an SA Water site and undertaking recreational activities is at your own risk. On entering and using the site, you agree to indemnify SA Water (including employees, contractors and assignees) from any and all claims associated with the issue or use of the permit and/or access to the reservoir.
(b) Consumption of fish caught at an SA Water site is at your own risk.
(c) In making SA Water sites available for recreation, SA Water offers no guarantees as to the suitability of the reservoir for fishing or watercraft (where authorised).
Entry to an SA Water site is subject to conditions of access. Non-compliance with your recreational fishing permit or site access conditions may result in access being withdrawn, suspended and/or the permit being cancelled.
Infringement or non-compliance may result in an expiation of $315 or a maximum penalty of $2,500.
1.5 Watercraft conditions
Access for water-based activities may only be undertaken in designated reservoirs and within identified areas in accordance with the following:
- Only kayaks and canoes are permitted.
- Inflatable devices are not permitted, with the only exception being inflatable kayaks complying with ISO 6185 and carrying a badge similar to the following:
- Folding kayaks manufactured from corflute or coroplast are not permitted.
- Electric or fuel powered motors, or sails, are not permitted on canoes and kayaks.
- Row boats, sailing boats or dinghies are not permitted.
- Motorised watercraft (including battery powered) are not permitted.
- An approved lifejacket Level 100 or higher, Level 50 or 50S must be worn at all times, be of an appropriate size for the wearer and properly fitted.
- Watercraft may only be launched from designated areas as indicated on signage, and must not be:
- used in a manner that is not intended or that results in deliberate body immersion in the water such as falling into the water
- equipped with a marine or other toilet
- used in a way that causes undue disturbance or cause annoyance to any person fishing from land or from another vessel
- used in a way to cause nuisance or disturbance to wildlife
- used in a dangerous fashion or in a way or at a speed that is likely to cause injury
- painted with tar, creosote or other phenolic compounds.
1.6 Non-permitted activities
You must not do any of the following on an SA Water site:
- swim in the reservoirs
- enter the water or other infrastructure containing water, unless it is designated as permitted
- wade above the knee in the reservoirs
- enter the water below knee level, unless required to launch permitted watercraft and to retrieve or release a fish
- engage in activities likely to cause inadvertent water contact above the knee, such as stand-up paddle boarding and windsurfing (refer to watercraft conditions for permitted watercraft)
- behave in a disorderly, indecent, offensive, threatening or insulting manner, or create any disturbance
- act in a disrespectful way to any SA Water people or other community members
- cause, directly or indirectly, damage or interference to any SA Water property or property belonging to another person
- spread ashes directly into, or near, the reservoirs
- do anything that interferes with the safety of the public or SA Water’s people
- operate any device at a volume likely to cause a nuisance
- litter, pollute or discharge substances likely to pollute land or waters
- damage or interfere with any plants or animals, including removing plant material
- damage, disturb or interfere with sites of cultural or historical significance
- intentionally disturb the soil, rocks or cause erosion, including fossicking, metal detecting and any digging
- erect any structures
- collect firewood
- possess, handle or discharge a firearm or other weapon
- possess, carry or use explosives or fireworks
- allow an animal you own or is under your control (except assistance dogs) to enter, remain or be left on SA Water land or waters
- urinate or defecate other than in designated toilet facilities
- start a fire or leave a fire unattended (gas BBQs are permitted)
- allow a vehicle to go at a speed greater than indicated by a sign or in a dangerous manner
- allow a vehicle to be driven or parked in a place, other than in a designated parking space, where the vehicle may be a nuisance or cause disruption or after you have been requested by SA Water to move the vehicle.
1.7 Activities requiring authorisation via lease, licence or permit
The following activities can only be undertaken on SA Water’s land when authorised by SA Water by lease, licence or permit (apply via Special Public Access Request):
- filming or taking photographs not for personal use
- conducting tours for a fee or other commercial purpose
- conducting any competitive event
- selling, hiring goods or offering goods for sale or hire
- conducting research or other scientific surveys or experiments
- conducting any commercial activity
- conducting or holding formal or community events
- distributing or affixing any written material to SA Water property
- using any aircraft, including drones or other remotely piloted aircraft, including in the air space over the reservoir reserve land or its waters
- rock climbing or abseiling.
2. Key terms
‘Designated area’ refers to an area defined by SA Water for a particular purpose.
‘Reservoir reserve’ refers to an area of land surrounding a reservoir under the care and control of SA Water.
‘SA Water site’ means all land (including fixtures) and water owned by or under the control of SA Water
‘SA Water people’ means all SA Water employees, contractors and those authorised to undertake work for SA Water.
‘SA Water property’ means all property owned or under the control of SA Water, whether fixed to the land or not.
‘Permit’ means a permit issued by SA Water or another entity for certain activities.
‘You’ includes a partnership, association, body of persons, corporate or unincorporated or an individual.
‘Vehicle’ is any object designed for movement upon wheels.
‘Vessel’ is any object used or designed to be used on water or in navigation.