A South Australian MP says he has received a dozen complaints from people in three suburbs south of Adelaide, where there has been a change to chemicals in the water supply, but SA Water says the change has improved the taste and safety.
Mawson MP Leon Bignell said the complaints he had received had ranged from skin irritation to pet fish dying.
Luke Hutt told the ABC he had spent an hour cleaning his fishpond and refilling it with tap water, before reading a post on Facebook that the new way water was being disinfected in the area could have an impact on his fish.
"I thought 'surely not' and lo and behold I go out the front and all the fish are dead," he said.
Mr Hutt, who lives in Normanville, south of Adelaide, said SA Water compensated him for the fish but that had not ended his concerns.
Mr Bignell said he had written to Water Minister David Speirs about a range of issues people have had since the switchover.
"People are saying they can no longer shower in the water, they can't drink the water, they're getting diarrhoea, skin and hair have become dry; others have complaints about unbearable headaches for a whole month after the changeover happened and chronic itching, sore throat, stomach cramps," Mr Bignell said.
However, SA Water told ABC Radio Adelaide the water quality from Myponga Reservoir, south of Adelaide, had actually improved since it moved from chlorine to chloramine-treated water earlier this year.
The Fleurieu Peninsula towns of Normanville, Yankalilla and Carrickalinga moved from tap water treated by chlorine to chloramine — a mixture of chlorine and ammonia — in March.
Water in the towns comes from the Myponga Reservoir, which was opened for walking in 2019, and fishing and kayaking in March 2021 — fulfilling an election promise made by the Liberals in opposition ahead of the 2018 state election.
Mr Bignell had raised whether the change was linked to the opening of the local water reservoir for recreation, a claim SA Water has denied.
SA Water's senior manager for water expertise and research, Daniel Hoefel, said a "small handful of residents" had issues and the water supplier was working "one-on-one with several customers who have [had] some issues with fish".
He said SA Water had "overwhelming feedback" commenting on the "improved taste" of the water.
He said the change from chlorine to chloramine had been planned since 2017 and there were no complaints when the Myponga township moved to the new method of disinfection in 2018.
"It's totally unrelated to reservoir access and it's actually part of our broader water quality improvement program, so we know that the water that comes out of Myponga is better suited to be disinfected with chloramine and we've actually seen an increase in the safety of the drinking water, which is one of the primary reasons we've made this change," he said.
He would not say whether SA Water had supported allowing recreation in South Australia's reservoirs but did say the state-owned company had worked with the government to make it safe.
He said 200,000 South Australian customers already received chloraminated water, along with people in Sydney, Brisbane and elsewhere interstate.
SA Water plans to switch over the outer Adelaide suburbs of Aldinga, Aldinga Beach and Sellicks Beach to chloraminated water from Myponga Reservoir later this year, followed by Victor Harbor, Port Elliot and Goolwa.