Thousands of customers in Middleton, Goolwa and Hindmarsh Island woke to their pipes refilling with water on Monday morning after SA Water’s dedicated crews worked all night to successfully repair a leak on a major water main supplying the towns.
On Friday, team members from SA Water’s Port Elliot depot discovered a leak on the large main along Goolwa Road in Middleton, prompting the utility’s expert engineers and technical specialists to evaluate solutions throughout Saturday.
After careful consideration, with customers’ needs and safety at its core, they took a collaborative approach to the complex repairs and crews began disassembling sections of the footbridge running over the top and removing concrete that encased the pipe.
With a temporary supply interruption required to safely fix the leak, SA Water’s Senior Manager of Customer Field Services Colin Bell said its teams mobilised alternate water supplies and readied information – with repairs planned for Sunday night to minimise customer and community impacts.
“After assessing the condition of the pipe, we were able to defer repairs and provide our customers with advance notice, letting them know of practical things they could do to prepare,” Colin said.
“We used a mix of communication techniques, including door-knocking, phoning and visiting local businesses, having the local radio station broadcast a message every hour and using paid social media to help the message appear to people within the affected towns.
“Our people delivered around 200 casks of water to customers with special care requirements and were on hand to offer an alternate supply of drinking water for the community at the Middleton Tavern and Goolwa Aquatic Club, while organising water tankers for some local business facilities to see them through.
“It really was a terrific team effort, with our South Para workshop custom-fabricating a collar for the pipe, and our Adelaide, Woodside, Murray Bridge and Port Elliot crews rallying behind each other to ensure our customers were supported during the event.”
Following successful repairs in the early hours of Monday morning, with considerable support from Leed Engineering and Construction and local contractors, crews begun the gradual process of recharging the pipe with water, restoring customers’ supply progressively throughout the day.
Over the coming weeks, SA Water’s engineers will conduct further structural assessments of the large water main, ahead of a potential upgrade.
“The trunk main is integral to the local network and moves water from a nearby storage tank to smaller distribution pipes that deliver drinking water to over 7,000 customers along the Fleurieu Peninsula, therefore it’s critical we assess its condition,” Colin said.
“We’ll perform a detailed investigation to determine if this section needs replacing, taking advantage of the scaffolding and support structures we put in place for the weekend’s work. For the safety of pedestrians, access to the footbridge is closed while we establish a temporary bypass through the area.
“If our findings lead to an upgrade of the pipe, we’ll commence planning our works around the needs of our customers and the community to ensure impacts are minimised and provide notice well in advance.
“As well as adopting a similar communications approach, customers can stay updated directly with SMS by registering to our online account portal, mySAWater, by heading to sawater.com.au or calling us on 1300 SA WATER.”
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For all other SA Water-related enquiries, please call our Customer Care Centre on 1300 SA WATER (1300 729 283).