Our people for the future

Our people for the future

We proactively grow a diverse and inclusive business with people who reflect the community we serve. This brings creative thinking and diversity of thought to build innovation, embracing technology to help us be safer and more efficient.

Our people work safely and are part of a high performing culture where learning and collaboration deliver great customer outcomes.

Improving safety and wellbeing

Our people-centred approach to health, safety and wellbeing continues to yield results with our wellbeing measure achieving above target results, and our all injury frequency rate significantly improving by 53 per cent from 19.52

in 2019-20 to 9.05 in 2020-21. These results have been well supported by our enhanced critical risk review approach, our broadened offering of wellbeing- related training, the technical training verification of competency program, and the introduction of Business Group reporting to improve visibility and accountability of performance.

Taking a harm-based approach to safety, we focus on the potential outcome of an incident as well as the actual outcome. Our resources are prioritised and focused on high potential incidents to prevent a recurrence.

There was a slight increase in our high potential incident frequency rate from 1.56 in 2019-20 to 1.89 in 2020-21. While not a desired result, all reported high potential incidents have been near miss incidents with no actual harm, and the engagement and lessons learnt has been positive.

The measurement and monitoring of combined health and safety performance indicators began in July 2020, inclusive of SA Water, Allwater and contractor performance. This is considered a more comprehensive indicator of health and safety performance as it includes the performance of our major partners and contractors when working on our behalf. High potential incident frequency rate, total recordable injury frequency rate and lost time injury frequency rate all improved throughout the 12-month reporting period.

There has been significant effort in the transition to our new metropolitan service delivery model to establish

strong relationships with a commitment from our new partners to share, align and standardise health and safety requirements wherever possible.

Our Health and Safety Improvement Plan was revised with additional inputs following a health and safety

management system review. The review assessed our systems, frameworks and processes for managing health and safety, including wellbeing and psychosocial risk. This revised plan continues our people-centred approach, with increased focus on risk management and systems.

Technology improves safety and collaboration

In 2020-21, the expansion of our cloud environment, together with enhanced video conferencing facilities, has significantly improved the way our regional and office-based people stay connected, communicate and collaborate, regardless of their location or device. This cohesive functionality has simplified how we connect with external partners, enabling our people to improve their performance and decision-making, and deliver on customer outcomes.

Our vehicle fleet has in-vehicle safety devices installed that will detect a vehicle rollover or panic alert and trigger an alarm to our 24-hour Operations Control Centre in Adelaide.

The safety of our field teams continues to improve with the introduction of field safety alerts. Our field teams across the state receive alerts on their mobile devices about any potential property hazards. This ensures our people can be prepared and take appropriate action to improve safety before arriving onsite.

Strength in diversity and inclusion

Our Diversity and Inclusion Plan outlines four priorities and in 2020-21 we delivered a range of activities and outcomes to achieve our diversity and inclusion targets.

Women at SA Water

At 30 June 2021, 41.86 per cent of our leadership positions were held by women as we continue to grow opportunities to develop and support women in our business.

Our Together for Women network marked its first anniversary in March with members of the network taking part in the live-streamed event hosted by the Adelaide International Women’s Day Breakfast Committee.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and retention

Aboriginal employment was 2.80 per cent at 30 June 2021, having peaked at 2.95 per cent in May.

In April we launched our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Retention Plan which will help us achieve sustainable employment pathways for future and existing Aboriginal employees by creating development opportunities within our business.

The Collective, a network for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, continued to provide opportunities to share experiences, foster culturally appropriate support structures and connect across our business.

Flexible and inclusive workforce

Our Disability Access and Inclusion Plan was launched in November 2020, outlining 39 actions that will guide how

we embrace and celebrate the active inclusion of people with diverse life experiences and circumstances. This year our Disability Network was formed with members involved in co-designing action outcomes for the plan. In a South Australian first, we installed accessible kayak launch facilities at Myponga

and Warren reservoir reserves. In addition, pathways to work experience opportunities for people living with a disability were created and we piloted face-to-face awareness training with Purple Orange.

In May, our Pride Together network, which connects the LGBTIQ+ community and their allies across our business, hosted its first event in partnership with national network Pride in Water. The Pride in Water events at the Ozwater’21 conference in Adelaide demonstrated the wider water industry’s support and enabled people to understand the value and contribution people with diverse experiences and views bring to our everyday operations.

Emerging workforce

Diversity in our apprentice programs continues to grow with 40 per cent of the intake in 2020-21 being female or Aboriginal people.

As at 30 June 2021:

  • 37 per cent of our trainees are Aboriginal
  • 32 per cent of our apprentices are Aboriginal or female
  • 60 per cent of our cadets are Aboriginal or female.

Our support continued this year for the University of Adelaide’s Women in STEM Careers Program which supports

100 women studying in the STEM fields, a number of whom have gone on to join our graduate program.

Spotlight on innovation and excellence

The 2020 Innovation and Excellence Awards recognised people from across our business who had shown excellence and new thinking to serve our customers.

Safety Leadership

Lana Haigh from our Engineering Team was acknowledged for her work to develop and present Safety in Design training.

The training provided participants with an understanding of why Safety in Design processes need to be implemented and areas where we can drive improvements.

Lana’s efforts inspired our people to do things differently and bring improved design, and better safety practices, plus cost-efficient outcomes for our customers.


Our Business Relations, Trade Waste, Wastewater & Environment, and Systems Planning teams came together to develop an innovative solution for two customers in the Adelaide Hills.

Taking an open-minded approach to a challenge presented by one of our largest customers, Thomas Foods International, they identified an opportunity for a local farmer to access recycled water from our Bird in Hand Wastewater Treatment which provided economic and environmental value to both customers.

Better Life

A collaborative team effort drove great customer outcomes and widespread benefits including savings and fairer bills for residential and business, regional, retirement village and trade waste customers.

The team worked together to influence long-held pricing policies, fee structures and billing practices, while also delivering a key government initiative to reduce the cost of living and doing business in South Australia.


Harry Roberts, from our Wastewater and Environment team, implemented a new approach to managing midge flies at Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant.

An irrigated vegetation screen was created between the lagoons and the Northern Connector expressway. By screening the lights from the expressway, and providing a cool, attractive resting place for the midge flies, the number reaching the expressway has been reduced by 50 to 70 per cent.

This project has improved the quality of life of residents living near Bolivar and mitigated the risks associated with midge flies for tens of thousands of commuters on the Northern Connector every day.

Strength in Diversity and Inclusion

This new award for 2020 was won by Pride Together, a group developed by our graduates to provide visibility, awareness and allies for LGBTIQ+ people across our business, ensuring they feel safe, included and valued.

Having perspectives across our business that represent the diverse community we serve helps us make better and more informed decisions about the services we provide.

Pride Together generates pride among our people for being part of an organisation that has an inclusive culture where everyone belongs, is valued and respected.


Our BYOB campaign won the Environment Award for promoting drinking tap water, one of the best choices anyone can make for their health, their wallet, and the environment.

The campaign brought together tap water messaging with our re-useable BYOB bottle, public drinking fountains, the BYOB app, and our presence at community events with the Quench Benches and Miss Isla. Together, these elements encourage people to change their behaviour and reduce demand for single-use plastic, and to drink tap water more often.

Above and Beyond

The three joint winners of this award represented a range of teams who responded with resilience, innovation and compassion to support our people and our customers through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The teams provided:

  • proactive customer assistance to support our most vulnerable customers through the financial impact of the pandemic
  • IT support for working from home, enabling a new way of working to ensure service continuity for our customers and the community
  • internal communication to keep our people informed and safe to ensure our essential services workforce remained empowered, engaged and resilient.

Inspirational Leadership

David Coombe was acknowledged as a highly motivating leader of our Customer Experience team, driving creativity, innovation, and high

performance to improve the experience we provide to our customers.

David’s empowering approach enabled his team members to bring their whole selves to work, while holding them accountable for contributing to both team and organisation-wide objectives.

Engagement survey

Our Research team undertakes a range of research projects, and in 2020-21 there were 76 active projects.

The research program has a broad scope, from customer perceptions of drinking water, to increasing water recycling, smart technology and improved land management.

We work closely with other water utilities and research organisations with the view to improving the services we provide to customers.

As part of our research in 2020-21, we looked at mathematical modelling for calcite dissolution and plume migration, as well as improving detection of cyanobacterial taste and odour production.

  • Major faults

  • Underway

  • Polkinghorns Rd
  • Arthurton
  • 18/06/2020
  • Water Supply On
  • 18/06/2020 03:05 PM - We are attending to an incident in Arthurton with no interruption to the water supply. The safety of our crews and customers comes first, and we always aim to minimise inconvenience by restoring services as quickly as we can. Reference Number WO: 07505663.
  • See all major faults

  • Scheduled works

  • Underway
  • Spruance Rd
  • Elizabeth East
  • 11/06/2021
  • Temporary Supply Interruption
  • Estimated start time and water supply off: 15/06/2021 09:00 AM
    Estimated restore time and water supply back on: 15/06/2021 04:00 PM

    We’re improving your services and undertaking maintenance work in Elizabeth East. Sometimes our crews need to temporarily interrupt the water supply to our customers and/or manage traffic while they are working. Temporary traffic management may remain in place until reinstatement of the impacted road is complete. We always aim to minimise inconvenience by restoring services as safely and quickly as we can.

  • See all scheduled works