Replacing water mains

Replacing water mains

Part of our responsibility isn’t just delivering good quality drinking water; it also includes maintaining the system that delivers it.

Through smart investment, upgrading our water mains helps to improve and maintain the network’s reliability. As a result, this means we can meet the demand for safe, clean drinking water now and into the future for South Australians. It also helps ensure businesses, schools and hospitals can access the water they need to prosper and serve the community.

South Australia has significant challenges in terms of the soil, topography and weather, and that’s what drives a lot of our water main replacements. It’s a part of the life of a growing city and state.

We do not prioritise water mains for renewal based on a pipe's 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.

How we upgrade water mains

To maintain the state’s complex water systems, 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:

  • the likelihood of future water main breaks (previous failure history)
  • the consequence of water main breaks (customer interruption)
  • if the water main is causing a restriction (low supply flow)
  • economic efficiency.

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 aim to maintain drinking water supply to customers throughout water main replacement works, by keeping the old main online while we install the new pipe. Supply is only usually disrupted as we move property connections over from the old to new main, and this process typically only takes a couple of hours.

How we involve you

We understand the impact any SA Water work may have on the community and we’re committed to working with you to keep these to a minimum. Before planned water main replacements, we provide advance notice to councils, residents and businesses, with information on potential impacts to water supply, property access and local traffic flow.  Where temporary supply disruptions are necessary, we aim to notify affected customers at least four days prior to the outage occurring.

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 enables us to identify and, where possible, coordinate projects in similar areas to minimise disruption to traffic and the community. We also work closely with the state Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. This helps limit impacts to the community when work is undertaken by both organisations in the same location.

To find out where planned upgrades within our water main network are taking place across South Australia, visit our works and faults map.

Interactive map

This map shows you our water main network, works undertaken since July 2017, and works planned between now and 2021.

You can zoom in or type in a street address, click on a main and find out more about when it was laid or when works are planned, life expectancy of that pipe and the diameter (DN) of the pipe.

We will keep this updated in coming years as part of our efforts to deliver relevant information.

  • Major faults

  • Underway

  • Polkinghorns Rd
  • Arthurton
  • 18/06/2020
  • Water Supply On
  • 18/06/2020 03:05 PM - We are attending to an incident in Arthurton with no interruption to the water supply. The safety of our crews and customers comes first, and we always aim to minimise inconvenience by restoring services as quickly as we can. Reference Number WO: 07505663.
  • See all major faults

  • Scheduled works

  • Underway
  • George St
  • Green Fields
  • 01/11/2020
  • Temporary Supply Interruption
  • Estimated start time and water supply off: 01/11/2020 09:00 AM
    Estimated restore time and water supply back on: 01/11/2020 06:00 PM

    We’re improving your services and undertaking maintenance work in Green Fields. Sometimes our crews need to temporarily interrupt the water supply to our customers and/or manage traffic while they are working. Temporary traffic management may remain in place until reinstatement of the impacted road is complete. We always aim to minimise inconvenience by restoring services as safely and quickly as we can.


  • See all scheduled works