The Water Services Act 2012 (WA), which was passed by WA Parliament in September 2012, was originally scheduled to commence from 1 July 2013. The Department of Water recently confirmed that it expects to take a further 6 to 8 weeks to complete the regulations and other necessary steps to ensure the Act is effective and workable. Accordingly, a commencement date has not yet been confirmed.

Section 5(1) of the Act stipulates that a person must not provide a ‘water service’ except under a licence. However, this licensing requirement does not apply to the provision of water service by a body corporate to a related body corporate. The Act broadly defines a ‘water service’ as a ‘water supply, sewage, irrigation or drainage service’.  It is expected that the regulations, which have been prepared in consultation with key stakeholders, will provide further clarity on what types of water services fall within the scope of the Act.

In the meantime, the Minister for Water, the Hon Terry Redman MLA,  has granted a class exemption under section 7 of the Act from the licensing requirements in respect of the following provision of water services:

Water supply, sewerage and drainage services provided to camps operated by mining, oil and gas companies or their contractors for the exclusive use by the employees and contractors of those companies for exploration, development, construction (including construction of related infrastructure such as or ports) or operations (including closure related activities) and related purposes.”

The class exemption for mining camps will come into effect on the day on which the Act comes into operation.