Downward trend continues for SA Water main breaks


Downward trend continues for SA Water main breaks

Water main leaks and breaks across SA Water’s state-wide water network are at their lowest number in six years, according to the water utility’s recent data.

Statistics for 2023 * show 3,536 water main leaks and breaks were reported across SA Water’s 27,000-kilometre network, compared to 3,726 recorded in 2022. These figures include everything from major breaks to minor pipe leaks, damp patches, and trickles on the road.

SA Water’s Senior Manager of Infrastructure Planning and Strategy Daniel Hoefel said this is the lowest rate recorded since 2017.

"To see a continued reduction in faults across our water network over recent years is a positive outcome for our customers and the wider community,” Daniel said.

“Reactive clay soils and the impact on our underground pipes remains the largest cause of network faults, as the weather transitions from dry and hot to wet conditions.

“This is due to extended periods of less rainfall, causing the soil to harden and dry out, making our underground network more prone to leaks and breaks.

“Last year’s milder summer, favourable mid-year conditions and wet December is what we estimate to be the predominant factors behind the continued reduction in leaks and breaks.

“We have also continued to reduce network failures through ongoing investment, with the placement of hundreds of pressure sensors to address water pressure-related faults before they impact the community, and installing around 69 kilometres of new pipe across metropolitan and regional areas in 2023.”

The release of 2023 data comes as the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest annual National Performance Report (NPR): urban water utilities continues to confirm SA Water’s network as among the best performing in Australia.  The 2022-23 results show South Australians experienced 12.7 water main breaks or leaks per 100 kilometres of pipe, which is SA Water’s lowest rate since 2013-14.

“Pleasingly, this is far below the national average of 18.3 incidents, and better than more than half of comparable-sized water utilities across Australia,” Daniel said.

*Figures for 2023 are for water main leaks and breaks up to 31 December 2023, based on the information available to SA Water at this time. Figures cited in this media release may change due to end of month variations and alterations to reporting processes.





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