We only draw drinking water from one river - the River Murray. Other rivers and streams play a role in feeding water into our reservoirs and ground water supplies. The River Murray has been a central part of the development of water supply for South Australia. The Adelaide Desalination Plant was built to reduce reliance on the River Murray. Before the plant was built we had to rely on the river for more than 90% of our water in dry years. The Adelaide Desalination Plant can now provide for up to 50% of Adelaide's water needs. This water can be supplied even when there is no rain.
The River also provides water to many regional communities, of our 68 drinking water supply systems, 33 source water either directly or indirectly from the River Murray, including 18 water treatment plants located along South Australia’s reaches of the River Murray. The River Murray also supplements metropolitan Adelaide’s reservoirs (with the exception of Myponga Reservoir) via two raw water major pipelines: the Murray Bridge-Onkaparinga pipeline and the Mannum-Adelaide pipeline.
Three major pipelines supply treated water from the River Murray to various regional communities; the Morgan-Whyalla Pipeline, Swan Reach – Stockwell pipeline and the Tailem Bend-Keith pipeline.
The percentage of water supplied to Adelaide from the River Murray varies from year to year, with the river providing about 40% of the city’s water in an average year. During 2015-16, 83.1% of water supplied by SA Water was sourced from the River Murray.
You can read more about the Murray's place in SA Water's history here.
Visit our River Murray section to see how we are helping to manage the river to make sure it is a sustainable source of water into the future. You can also access our River Murray data including daily flow and salinity reports.