Conditions of access

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. Using reservoir reserves for recreation

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.

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 Authorised Officers 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 sites are under surveillance and your activities may be recorded.

i. SA Water Authorised Officers 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 reason.

2. Opening hours

You may only enter the publicly accessible areas of a reservoir reserve during set opening hours.

Most reservoirs have standard opening hours which are:

  • Standard Time: 7.30am – 5.00pm
  • Daylight Saving Time: 7.30am – 8.00pm

Alternative opening hours are in place for Barossa, Warren and Bundaleer and the Mount Bold dam wall.

3. Closures

SA Water sites will be closed in the following circumstances:

  1. 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.
  2. for maintenance and operational activities, including algal management
  3. in the interest of public safety
  4. when the gates are closed and locked

4. Fishing conditions

A valid fishing permit is required to fish at Happy Valley, South Para, Myponga, Warren, and Bundaleer Reservoir Reserves, Aroona Dam, and Beetaloo Reservoir.

You will need a fishing permit if:

  1. You are aged 16 or over
  2. You are under the age of 16 and will not be accompanied by an adult with a fishing permit

Money raised from fishing permits is re-invested into the management of recreational fishing at reservoirs, including the fish stocking program.

Only recreational fishing is permitted, and fishing is subject to compliance with the general conditions of access listed on this page, and with the specific conditions of the fishing permit (below).

Fishing permits are non-refundable.

Fishing permit conditions

  1. Fishing is permitted at Bundaleer, Happy Valley, Myponga, South Para, and Warren Reservoir Reserves, Aroona Dam, and Beetaloo Reservoir. You may only fish from areas designated as available for fishing as indicated on site signage and markers.
  2. You will require a copy of your permit and identification when fishing at a reservoir.
  3. Fishing at reservoir reserves is subject to bag and size limits. All recreational fishing limits apply for a 24-hour period from midnight to midnight. Once you have reached the limit for a particular species, you are not allowed to catch any more.
    1. Golden Perch: minimum legal length 33 cm, personal daily bag limit 2 fish.
    2. Murray Cod: catch and release only year round.
    3. Rainbow Trout: minimum legal length 28 cm, personal daily bag limit 2 fish.
    4. Silver Perch: minimum legal length 33 cm, personal daily bag limit 2 fish.
  4. Carp, redfin and other prescribed (non-native) species caught must be removed from site and not returned.
  5. Native species may only be returned to the water alive.
  6. Only ‘rod and reel’ fishing is permitted. Baited nets or traps are not permitted (i.e. for yabbying or other similar purposes).
  7. Hand-cranked electric reels may be used where fitted to a conventional recreational fishing rod. Commercial fishing equipment is not permitted.
  8. Each person can use up to 2 rods or 2 handlines, or one of each. Each line may have up to 3 hooks attached, though a single, ‘circle’ style hook is the preferred method. This limits deep hooking of fish and presents better fish health outcomes, especially with cod.
  9. You must not enter the water for the purposes of casting. If fishing from the shoreline, you must not enter the water to cast or retrieve your lure. You may only enter the water temporarily to retrieve or release a fish by wading no deeper than knee height.
  10. If using bait, please bring your own. Bait cannot be collected at the reservoir reserve.
    1. The use of artificial lures and flies is preferred.
    2. The use of burley or fish attractants (including liquid, spray on or scented attractants) is not permitted.
  11. Murray Cod may be removed from the water to be unhooked, following these guidelines:
    1. Use a strong, knotless net supporting the weight of the fish horizontally. Do not lift fish by head or suspended by gills.
    2. Keep fish wet and prevent dry or hot surfaces. Wet all handling materials and equipment prior to landing.
    3. Protect the fish slime coat, fins, gills and eyes at all times. Keep dirt and debris from the fish.
    4. Avoid fish kicking unnecessarily, or hitting hard objects or equipment. Clear space for managing fish in a boat, or utilise shallow water if fishing from land.
    5. Utilise barbless and circle hooks.
    6. Support the belly of the fish and keep horizontal at all times.
    7. Avoid light line and prolonged hooking times.
    8. Have Murray Cod handling equipment available and prepared throughout fishing activity such as nets, pliers, gloves and soft landing mats.
    9. Where necessary with deep hooked fish, cut line as close as possible.
  12. Fish must not be cleaned on an SA Water site nor any part of the fish (alive or dead) left at the reservoir.
  13. Fishing permit holders acknowledge and accept that consumption of fish caught in a reservoir is at your own risk.
  14. 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.
  15. While on an SA Water site, you must comply with any directions given by SA Water Authorised Officers or with instructions shown on any signs.
  16. You must leave all areas and facilities as you found them, take all rubbish and waste with you, or place in bins, where provided.
  17. 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).
  18. Entry to SA Water’s reservoir reserves is subject to conditions and may be legally enforced.
  19. Non-compliance with your recreational fishing permit or site access conditions may result in access being withdrawn or suspended, your permit being cancelled, and an expiation.

5. Watercraft conditions

Kayaking and canoeing is permitted at Bundaleer, Happy Valley, Myponga, South Para, and Warren Reservoirs.

The following conditions apply in relation to these activities:

  1. only kayaks and canoes are permitted
    1. Recognising the variety in small watercraft and the potential for different designs or construction methodologies being released or becoming available, SA Water reserves the right to prohibit any watercraft that it determines not to be a kayak or canoe. ·
    2. Queries can be directed to Reservoirs SA via email prior to purchase or construction of a watercraft to ensure compliance.
  2. Inflatable devices are not permitted, except for inflatable canoes and kayaks complying with ISO 6185-1 and carrying a badge similar to the following:


  3. folding kayaks manufactured from corflute or coroplast are not permitted
  4. electric or fuel-powered motors, or sails, are not permitted on canoes and kayaks
  5. row boats, sailing boats or dinghies are not permitted
  6. motorised watercraft (including battery powered) are not permitted
  7. 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
  8. watercraft may only be launched from designated areas as indicated on signage, and must not be:
    1. used in a manner that is not intended or that results in deliberate body immersion in the water such as falling into the water
    2. equipped with a marine or other toilet
    3. used in a way that causes undue disturbance or cause annoyance to any person fishing from land or from another vessel
    4. used in a way to cause nuisance or disturbance to wildlife
    5. used in a dangerous fashion or in a way or at a speed that is likely to cause injury
    6. painted with tar, creosote or other phenolic compounds

6. Non-permitted activities

You must not do any of the following on an SA Water site:

  1. swim in the reservoirs
  2. enter the water or other infrastructure containing water, unless it is designated or permitted
  3. wade above the knee in the reservoirs
  4. enter the water below knee level, unless required to launch permitted watercraft and to retrieve or release a fish
  5. 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)
  6. behave in a disorderly, indecent, offensive, threatening, or insulting manner or create any disturbance
  7. act in a disrespectful way to any SA Water people or other community members
  8. cause, directly or indirectly, damage or interference to any SA Water property or property belonging to another person
  9. spread ashes directly into, or near, the reservoirs
  10. do anything that interferes with the safety of the public or SA Water’s people
  11. operate any device at a volume likely to cause a nuisance
  12. litter, pollute or discharge substances likely to pollute land or waters
  13. damage or interfere with any plants or animals including removing plant material
  14. damage, disturb or interfere with sites of cultural or historical significance
  15. intentionally disturb the soil, rocks or cause erosion, including fossicking, metal detecting and any digging
  16. erect any structures
  17. collect firewood
  18. possess, handle or discharge a firearm or other weapon
  19. possess, carry or use explosives or fireworks
  20. 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
  21. smoke
  22. urinate or defecate other than in designated toilet facilities
  23. camp
  24. start a fire or leave a fire unattended (gas BBQs are permitted)
  25. allow a vehicle to go at a speed greater than indicated by a sign or in a dangerous manner
  26. 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 an SA Water Authorised Officer to move the vehicle

7. Activities requiring licence or permit


Any commercial activity may be subject to the requirement for a licence and its terms subject to negotiation. All enquiries of a commercial nature should be directed to


The following activities can only be undertaken on SA Water’s land when authorised by a permit. To apply for a permit, see Event and activity requests:

Community Event Applications

  1. conducting or holding formal private or community events
  2. conducting any competitive event

General Access Applications

  1. conducting research or other scientific surveys or experiments
  2. accessing SA Water sites for educational purposes
  3. distributing or affixing any written material to SA Water property
  4. rock climbing or abseiling
  5. accessing areas generally not available to the public
  6. seeking access to a culturally or historically significant site
  7. temporary access through SA Water land for specific purpose
  8. using any aircraft, including drones or other remotely piloted aircraft, including in the air space over the reservoir reserve land or its waters
  9. access that assists other Government agencies to achieve critical government business without compromising SA Water’s primary land management and water quality objectives

All activities occurring under an SA Water Permit must adhere to the following conditions:

  1. Nothing may be removed from SA Water sites without the express approval of SA Water
  2. Any temporary improvements, alterations or additions to the Permit Area, including the erection of advertising, signs, route markers or bunting must first be approved by SA Water
  3. All rubbish and evidence of your event/activity (such as temporary improvements) must be removed from the Permit Area and any nearby areas as soon as practicable but in no more than 24 hours
  4. You shall make good at your own expense any damage, however arising, to SA Water land and/or equipment of SA Water.
  5. SA Water may require you to undertake repairs to the Permit Area or other actions to ensure compliance with these terms and conditions.
    1. If you fail to comply with obligations under this clause, SA Water may carry out the repairs or undertake your other obligations at your expense.
    2. All monies expended by SA Water in carrying out repairs, litter removal, and other of your obligations will be owed by you as a debt to SA Water.
  6. You must develop and abide by a Safety Management Plan describing how you will use the Permit Area in a safe manner which keeps participants and other reservoir users from harm.
  7. You must develop and abide by an Environmental Management Plan describing how you will use the Permit Area in an environmentally sound manner which keeps it in a good, neat and tidy condition (fair wear and tear excepted). You must not use confetti or glitter on or near the Permit Area.
  8. You must obtain and maintain any other approvals/permits necessary for your intended use of the Permit Area.
  9. You must not permit a third party to use the Permit Area for any of the listed activities without obtaining SA Water’s prior written consent.
  10. You must not promote or publicise your activity or event without written approval of SA Water.
  11. Neighbours and other users must be respected at all times and all activities related to the Permit Area should not unduly impact others
  12. All incidents/near misses must be reported to SA Water immediately. SA Water must be notified in writing no later than 48 hours after discovery if any damage whatsoever occurred to the Permit Area
  13. SA Water retains all rights to access and use the Permit Area for its own purposes, and without limiting such rights, SA Water may at any time inspect and examine the condition of the Permit Area.
  14. You occupy and use SA Water land entirely at your own risk and you release to the full extent permitted by law the Corporation, its agents, officers, contractors and employees in the absence of any default or neglect on their part from all claims and demands of every kind resulting from any accident, damage or injury to persons or property occurring on the Corporations premises.
  15. You shall at all times indemnify SA Water against all demands, actions, proceedings, liabilities, claims, cost and expenses of whatsoever nature in relation to, or arising from, or in connection with the use of SA Water land and/or equipment by you, your agents, contractors or employees or any other person using SA Water land and/or equipment with your permission or knowledge.
  16. SA Water may terminate this Permit immediately by notice in writing to you and require you to vacate the Permit Area if:
    1. you fail to pay any fee within the time fixed by this Permit
    2. you breach any obligation imposed on you by this Permit
    3. you enter a form of insolvency administration
    4. a Fire Ban Day has been declared.
    5. In the view of SA Water there are competing operational, safety, environmental, equity or other requirements which disallow use of Permit Area

8. Penalties

Entry to an SA Water site is subject to conditions as prescribed by the South Australian Water Corporation Act 1994.

Non-compliance with any of the conditions listed on this website may result in your access being withdrawn, suspended and/or your fishing permit being cancelled.

In addition, any non-compliance with these access conditions may result in an expiation of $315 or a maximum penalty of $2,500.

9. Key terms

Authorised Officers: SA Water staff authorised under Section 18A(5) of the South Australian Water Corporation Act 1994, specifically involved in the operational management of reservoir reserves. These are typically Reservoir Rangers, and any direction (such as a request to leave the reservoir) must be followed.

Bicycle: a vehicle with two or more wheels that is built to be propelled by human power through a belt, chain or gears, including electric power assisted pedal cycles with a power output of up to 250W (as defined by the Road Traffic Act 1961). This does not include electric scooters, which may not be used in reservoir reserves.

Canoe: a boat which is propelled by means of single paddle(s) and user(s) kneeling or sitting at the bow and rear of the boat. The width/length–ratio of kayaks is above 1:3.

Commercial activity: an event or activity undertaken at a reservoir which returns financial profit to the proponent.

Designated area: an area defined by SA Water for a particular purpose.

Event: any public or private, ticketed or un-ticketed, planned gathering of people which is outside the normal everyday activity of the reservoir (even if held regularly). An event can offer cultural, social, lifestyle and sporting experiences. Events can be held in a single day or over multiple days (but not be ongoing).

ISO 6185: The international standard specifying the minimum safety characteristics required for the design, manufacture, and testing of inflatable boats, including canoes and kayaks.

ISO 25649: The international standard specifying the minimum safety characteristics required for the design, manufacture, and testing of floating leisure articles including canoes and kayaks.

Kayak: a boat which is propelled by means of double paddle(s) and user(s) sitting in line in a mid-boat position. The width/length–ratio of kayaks is above 1:3.

Reservoir: the body of water, including areas accessible to the public and not, the latter delineated by a line of buoys.

Reservoir reserve: the area of land surrounding the reservoir, as well as the reservoir itself, under the care and control of SA Water.

SA Water site: all land, water, buildings, and other facilities owned by or under the control of SA Water

SA Water people/personnel: all SA Water employees, contractors and those authorised to undertake work for SA Water.

SA Water property: all property owned or under the control of SA Water, whether fixed to the land or not.

Permit: a permit issued by SA Water granting authorisation for prescribed activities (such as holding an event, or permission to fish).

Permit Area: the area within a reservoir reserve designated for use under a permit.

You: a partnership, association, body of persons, corporate or unincorporated or an individual.

Vehicle: any form of transportation designed for movement upon wheels, including but not limited to cars, buses, and bicycles.

Vessel: any form of transportation used or designed to be used on water or in navigation.