South Australians receive their water through a system made up of a complex network of more than 26,500 kilometres of mains and pipes. If laid out in a single pipeline it would reach almost two-thirds of the way around the world!
The metropolitan Adelaide system - more than 8600 kilometres - includes more than 120 large storage tanks, 59 pumping stations, nine reservoirs and six treatment plants.
The reservoirs, treatment plants, pipelines and pumping stations that supply Adelaide’s water are connected to the reticulation system by large trunk mains that deliver water to storage tanks installed at varying levels on the slopes of the hills to the south, north and east of the metropolitan area. Some elevated tanks are situated in the suburbs to supply low-lying districts.
The tanks hold water to meet peak demands and to control water pressure. They also maintain supply when the trunk mains are not operating.
Fire protection in the Adelaide central business district is provided by duplicate mains that run down each side of the city’s main streets with hydrants every 80 metres. Underground fire plugs are installed on water mains at similar intervals in the suburbs.
Want to know what happens after a water main bursts? Read our fact sheet.