Proactive environmental leadership

Proactive environmental leadership

As a leader in environmental management, and by partnering with our stakeholders, customers and community, we are taking action to adapt to climate change, and finding ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We make decisions that reduce waste and grow opportunities to reuse resources and by-products of our production processes to create environmental benefits.

Our zero cost energy future

In early 2021 the final solar panels were installed as part of our industry-leading zero cost energy future initiative.

About 217,000 panels were installed this year at sites including Happy Valley, Mount Pleasant, Mallala and Swan Reach as well as Port Lincoln, Kimba, Lock, Arno Bay and Caralue Bluff on the Eyre Peninsula.

To help power our energy intensive water and wastewater treatment and pumping operations, we have installed more than 367,000 panels at 33 sites across the state. Panels at 25 sites are energised and connected to the grid, generating about 18 gigawatt hours of electricity in 2020-21 and nearly 34 megawatt hours of battery storage is installed.

While we still draw electricity from the grid, this project enables us to store and sell energy at other times while helping to buffer our business from the volatility of the electricity spot market and therefore keeping operating costs down.

Bushfire response and recovery

Following the January 2020 bushfire on Kangaroo Island, we finalised repairs at the Middle River Water Treatment Plant. The main switchboard was replaced and repairs to the magnetic ion exchange plant structure were completed.

The upgrade of the main switchboard means the treatment plant can be powered by a generator, helping ensure future continual operation and security of water to our customers on the Island.

Fires in Cherry Gardens in late January 2021 burnt 19,000 hectares around our Mount Bold Reservoir catchment.

Our bushfire preparedness activities helped contain the ease and speed at which the fire could spread. Maintaining and creating fire breaks as part of our pre-bushfire season significantly contributed to the Country Fire Service’s success in containing the fire.

With experienced teams managing the impacts of bushfire within our catchment areas, we were able to minimise water quality and treatment challenges and potential impacts on drinking water supplies.

Ahead of heavy rainfall after the fires, our teams worked alongside the Department for Environment and Water to install sediment control structures to prevent residue from the high-intensity fires reaching the reservoir.

In addition, we used the flexibility in our water management system to move water north and south to prevent water quality issues.

Reducing waste

As a first step to achieve zero net waste, a waste audit was conducted to identify areas and ways to reduce waste and develop principles to guide us in this endeavour.

Through a business-wide innovation challenge, our people were asked for ideas to reduce waste and maximise reuse, aligned to our zero net waste aim. More than 400 people participated and 93 ideas were generated and assessed, with 53 identified as potentially viable improvement solutions. From this, seven were developed, and tested for implementation during the challenge, with the remainder progressing via our Ideas Tank.

One idea implemented reduces waste by refurbishing quality older valves and reusing them, rather than sending them to become scrap. A refurbished older valve has been used to replace a failed valve and was successfully operated in a shut down. We plan to refurbish a further six valves using our in-house skills and resources.

Building capability for climate change adaptation

To address the challenges of adapting to climate change and improve decision- making for water utilities, we partnered with Water Research Australia and its members to develop a new online resource for climate change adaptation information.

The Resiliwiki is designed to provide climate change adaptation guidance for water utilities. Building on the Water Services Association of Australia climate change adaptation guidelines, the site provides suggested best-practice assessment approaches.

There are four key resources available at Resiliwiki:

  • A review of global good practice in climate change adaptation.
  • The pathfinder tool that helps identify appropriate assessment approaches and data.
  • A climate change syllabus that outlines fundamental competencies needed by practitioners.
  • A guide for future directions which identifies key areas for improvement by water utilities for improved data- driven decision-making.

The site is available for use by all members of Water Research Australia.

New community drinking fountains

The network of community drinking fountains expanded in 2020-21.

There are now 63 fountains across South Australia connected to our mains supply for members of the community to use. They include both bottle refill and bubbler options, with some also featuring an in-ground dog bowl.

Built-in solar lighting makes them bright and easy to find at night.

In collaboration with local councils, 10 drinking fountains were installed this year:

  • Glenelg foreshore
  • Two Wells Village Green
  • Millicent Domain Skatepark and Nature Playground
  • John Watson Drive (Blue Lake/ War War), Mount Gambier
  • Goldenfields Reserve, Golden Grove
  • Port MacDonnell foreshore
  • Steamroller Park, Stirling
  • Bentley Reserve, Holden Hill
  • Port Adelaide Visitor Information Centre
  • Ralli Park, Balaklava

In January 2021 we announced that up to 80 more drinking fountains will be installed across the state over the coming four years.

Our BYOB app maps these and other fountains through an interactive map that displays more than 1,000 drinking fountains in South Australia.

Smart irrigation wins

In late March 2021, we were the only South Australian organisation to be commended at the 2021 iTnews Benchmark Awards when our smart irrigation initiative won the Industrial and Primary Production category.

Through the smart irrigation project, which began in December 2019, we are working with customers to help maintain cool, green open spaces that build healthy communities, while also providing cost and water saving benefits through more effective and site-specific use of water.

This is achieved using real-time data from an integrated system of soil moisture probes, daily weather forecasts and smart water meters, with information provided to water users through a weekly irrigation schedule to optimise water efficiency.

Finger Point cultural burn

A prescribed burn on land near the Finger Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in March 2021 incorporated fire burning practices used by the Traditional Owners, the Boandik people.

Working in partnership with Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation, the Department for Environment and Water, and the Limestone Coast Landscape Board, the burn acknowledged Finger Point as a culturally significant site.

This was the first time we have collaborated with First Nations people to incorporate traditional fire knowledge into a prescribed burn, and we will look for opportunities to continue this in the future. It was also the first time in about 100 years that there has been a dedicated cultural burn in the area.

Abattoir’s recycled wastewater grows livestock fodder

A circular economy is thriving in the Adelaide Hills, where we created an ongoing loop that connects pasture cultivation, livestock grazing, abattoir production and reuse of recycled processing wastewater.

The sustainable outcome enables a climate-independent supply of nutrient-rich water for a primary producer to grow fodder. It helps Thomas Foods International, which processes the producer’s livestock, avoid the cost of additional on-site treatment infrastructure. In addition, we increased the volume of water recycled for productive use at our Bird in Hand Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The solution’s design came after a fire at Thomas Foods International’s Murray Bridge facility saw them shift a large amount of production to their Lobethal base, increasing the processing waste they were discharging into our local sewerage network.

Challenging gravity

Our involvement in the GRAVITY Challenge in late 2020 at Lot Fourteen was part of our drive for innovation.

The challenge brought businesses, government agencies and universities together with innovators including tech start-ups, entrepreneurs and subject matter experts, to collaborate and co-create solutions to some of society's biggest challenges.

Through a collaboration with UK company Spottitt, experts in earth observations satellite and geographic information system analysis, we looked at how satellites might be used to better manage bushfires and detect water leaks.

This involved a retrospective analysis of the Middle River fire on Kangaroo Island to see if satellite imagery, together with data on vegetation and soil moisture, could be found and analysed to predict a fire and enable prevention.

The other issue explored was a timebound observation of Elliston on the Eyre Peninsula to see if satellite monitoring and artificial intelligence algorithms could be used to identify leaks in our underground network.

The challenge provided access to technology not normally used in the water industry as we seek new ways to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective water services.

Feral focus

This year 454 goats were removed from Kangaroo Creek and Montacute, through an aerial muster and an aerial cull.

Proactive removal of the pest species reduces environmental impacts to our Kangaroo Creek Reservoir catchment and help us maintain high quality drinking water for customers across Adelaide.

These collaborative operations took place across lands owned by several agencies including the Department for Environment and Water, National Parks and Wildlife, Forestry SA, Landscape South Australia Hills and Fleurieu, as well as private land.

  • 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