We own, operate and maintain around 27,000 kilometres of water mains across the state. That is a lot of pipeline – enough to travel from Adelaide to San Francisco, and back again! Of this total, just over 9,200 kilometres are located within metropolitan Adelaide.
Through smart investment, upgrading our water mains helps to improve and maintain the network’s reliability. As a result, this allows us to meet demands for safe, clean water now and into the future for South Australian households. It also helps ensure South Australian businesses, schools and hospitals can access the water they need to prosper and serve the South Australian community.
For a list of our upcoming mains replacements, check out the planned schedules for the regional and metropolitan areas. These will be updated to reflect current work, including the anticipated start and completion dates.
To maintain our complex water system, our annual water mains replacement program prioritises those mains that are most likely to require attention. The program is continuously being assessed and updated to reflect changes in burst rates and interruptions to supply.
We prioritise the replacement of our water mains based on a number of factors including:
We seek to balance the level of service provided against the expense of replacing the mains. We understand both of these factors can impact upon our customers.
We do not prioritise water mains for renewal based on pipe age. Traditionally, water mains have an asset life of approximately 100 years. Some may last longer, and others may need to be replaced sooner depending on a number of conditions. Around 8% of our water mains are over 100 years old, but approximately half are just over 50 years old.
The ageing of our infrastructure is inevitable. However, a pipe’s age is not always an indication of its quality. Both younger and older pipes have the potential to fail. Reasons for their failure include:
Accidental damage by a third party undertaking works around water mains accounts for more than five per cent of water main failures in the metropolitan area. To minimise any potential interruptions to the community, it is important to Dial Before You Dig and ensure there aren't any underground pipes in the area you are working in. You can call 1100 during business hours to request information on our underground pipe locations.
Our priority is to minimise disruption to the community. That's why we send up-to-date information and advice to customers and commuters who may get inconvenienced due to our works. We also provide regular clean-up, dampening of dusty areas, site signage and traffic management. If you are within an area currently undergoing works, please call us if you do not see this happening. We will ensure this is quickly provided.
Sometimes when we’re repairing or replacing our pipes, we need to let water out of a valve or hydrant further down the network. This helps relieve pressure on the area of main we’re working on and minimises the chance of a rupture occurring nearby. We try to limit the impacts of this work by advising the community when this method is required and only letting out as much water as needed. If you do see a fault in our network, please call our 24/7 fault report line on 1300 883 121.
We understand the impact any SA Water work may have on the community. Before planned mains replacements, we ensure all local councils, residents and businesses are contacted. This ensures these groups are aware of upcoming work in their area. Alternative arrangements to potential water outages and traffic interruptions can be made to minimise any potential inconveniences.
We encourage councils to provide us with their programs of work. This allows us to identify and coordinate projects in similar areas to minimise disruption to the community. We also work closely with the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI). This helps limit impacts to the community when work is undertaken by both organisations in the same location.
We are committed to ongoing support of the South Australian community, by providing reliable water services to achieve future economic development.