We own, operate and maintain around 27,000 kilometres of water mains across South Australia. 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 the demand for safe, clean water now and into the future for South Australian households. It also helps ensure businesses, schools and hospitals can access the water they need to prosper and serve the community.
For a list of our upcoming mains replacements, check out the schedules for regional and metropolitan areas. These schedules are continuously assessed to reflect any changes in water main break rates and interruption to customers' drinking water supply.
To maintain our complex water system, our annual water mains replacement program prioritises those mains that are most likely to require attention.
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 a useful life of approximately 100 years. Some may last longer, and others may need to be replaced sooner depending on a number of conditions. Around eight per cent of our water mains are more than 100 years old, but around half are less than 50 years old.
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 main replacements, we provide advance notice to local councils, residents and businesses. This helps to increase awareness in the community 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, where possible, 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.