COVID-19 information for customers

COVID-19 information for customers

How we're responding to COVID-19

As with water utilities across the world, we have a range of measures in place to manage the impacts of COVID-19, ensuring we can continue to provide safe and reliable water and sewerage services to our customers, and to protect the health of our people and the communities we interact with.

We are here if you need us, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Our essential workers

The Emergency Management Act (2004) states that water and sewerage are essential infrastructure and services, with the continued operation of these a valid reason to leave home, when stay at home restrictions are in force. This helps protect immediate, medium and long-term public health outcomes, as well as ensure ongoing reliable water supplies.

During restriction periods, together with our contract partners, we assess each project within our capital works program to ensure it can be delivered in a way that is safe for our people, our customers and the community. There are some instances where our projects are paused, and there are some instances where they continue.

To ensure accuracy of your water bills, by recording actual water consumption rather than estimates, our meter reader contractors will also continue to work during any lockdown periods. Meters will only be read when our contractors can do so without any interaction with a customer, e.g. a meter won’t be read if it’s located behind a locked gate.

Where practicable, all our front-line teams continue to implement appropriate health and hygiene measures while working out in the community, along with the use of standard required personal protective equipment (high-viz, safety glasses etc.).

Drinking water supply

Your tap water remains safe to drink. There is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted by drinking water. Our existing water treatment and disinfection processes using chlorine and chloramine are effective in deactivating viruses in water supplies.

We are also well prepared to ensure the ongoing safety and reliability of water supply. Our water treatment plants are secure, have back up power supplies and require few staff to operate them, with some operated remotely.

Temporary water supply disruptions

Our Community Support team help customers across metropolitan Adelaide affected by water main breaks and leaks by providing temporary supplies of drinking water to all customers experiencing an unplanned water outage of more than four hours, organising any clean-up required and providing information about the progress of repair work.

In regional parts of the state, when an extended water outage is necessary, our local depot teams can organise temporary tankers to connect to the mains network, to ensure continued supply for sites like hospitals and schools and have a stock of cask water to provide residential customers, if required.

Wastewater and recycled water

There is no evidence the COVID-19 virus is transmitted via wastewater systems. Our wastewater and recycled water systems have similar disinfection processes to water treatment, including chlorination and ultraviolet (UV), which are proven to be effective at deactivating viruses.

Sludge treatment processes to produce biosolids (organic matter used to improve soils and some crops) are also considered safe.

Additionally, our wastewater treatment and network operators already implement strict hygiene practices and will continue to do so.

COVID-19 wastewater testing

Working together with SA Health, our expert scientists are playing a pivotal role in South Australia's fight against COVID-19, through an ongoing program monitoring for traces of the virus in the state's wastewater.

Supplementing the state’s existing patient testing regime with our sewage surveillance provides a non-invasive mechanism to build a wider snapshot of the virus’ transmission within the community, helping our public health officers better understand the spread and identify areas where it may be emerging.

For more information, see our October 2020 media release.

More information

More information on drinking water quality, sewerage services and the operation of water and sewer infrastructure can be found in the Water Services Association of Australia’s (WSAA) COVID-19 fact sheet. Water Research Australia have also developed a fact sheet on water and sanitation.

For information on COVID-19, visit sa.gov.au or contact the South Australian COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787.

Please continue to follow the advice of health authorities and stay safe.

Reporting a fault

If you have an urgent network fault to report, please call us on 1300 SA WATER (1300 729 283). Non-urgent network faults can be reported online here.