Replacing water mains

Replacing water mains

About our water mains

Our annual water main replacement program delivers proactive maintenance of Adelaide’s water distribution network. Regular annual and proactive reviews ensure their integrity and determine when they need to be renewed.


We own, operate and maintain more than 27,000 kilometres of water mains across the state. Our water network consists of large trunk mains that transfer high volumes of water between our reservoirs, the River Murray, water treatment plants, the Adelaide Desalination Plant and more than 540 storage tanks. Smaller reticulation mains connect to the trunk mains and run along most suburban streets to provide water to your home.

Water mains are generally very reliable and have an asset life of approximately 100 years. Some mains may last longer and others may need to be replaced sooner, depending upon ground conditions and the type of material used.

Why main breaks happen

Water mains can break for a number of reasons, but the most common cause is ground movement. For example, during years of low rainfall, we have a higher rate of main breaks. Low rainfall causes soil shrinkage and hardening, making pipes more prone to failure.

Data reported by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology shows that Adelaide’s break rates are consistently lower than those in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Water Main Replacement brochure – translated

water main renewal brochure 



Tiếng Việt



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.

What to expect when we upgrade your water main

If the pipes in your street are being renewed, we have a clear process to ensure the work is done efficiently and with minimal disruption to you and your community.

  • Your water main is identified for renewal to ensure reliability and longevity
  • Site visits are undertaken by the project team to understand community and environmental needs
  • We plan and design the water main renewal
  • Customers are informed of the schedule of works
  • Locations for the new water main are marked on the road
  • Pipes and machinery are placed in safe areas along the street ready for crews
  • Construction of the new main begins
    • Traffic management is put in place to ensure your safety
    • Trenches are dug and pipes are laid in sections
    • Trenches are backfilled each day for safety and to enable traffic movement
    • Connections to your meter are moved from the old to the new main
    • Roads and any impacted landscaping is reinstated soon after completion
  • Water main renewal is complete

We keep disruption to a minimum

We are committed to keeping disruption to a minimum and work with our contractors to do the same. However, you may experience:

  • noise and dust from construction equipment and vehicles
  • increased traffic in and around your local street
  • restricted access to properties while digging trenches and laying new pipes
  • temporary parking restrictions
  • excavation work on roads and footpaths
  • temporary interruption to your water supply.

To ensure safety, we will also manage traffic and walkways around the work site.

The excavated trench will be backfilled at the conclusion of each day to ensure safety and to minimise disruptions to traffic or property access.

Working hours

Most work will be undertaken between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday. In high traffic areas or at locations where water supply is critical, work may happen at night or on the weekend. Advance notice of construction timeframes will always be provided, unless there are unplanned technical constraints.

Interruptions to your water supply

Temporary interruptions to your water supply will be required as we transfer connections from the old main to the new main. These are usually scheduled during the middle of the day when demand for water is at its lowest. Overnight outages may occur in areas where day works are not practical, for example in school zones.

You will receive a minimum of four days’ notice before your water service is temporarily interrupted, to enable you to prepare.

Finalising the work

Once the pipes are laid, roads and landscaping are reinstated to the original condition as close as practical. Road reinstatement will occur soon after completion of the works, but opened to traffic as soon as possible after the work is finished.

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, and works undertaken between July 2017 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 were 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
  • Spruance Rd
  • Elizabeth East
  • 11/06/2021
  • Temporary Supply Interruption
  • Estimated start time and water supply off: 15/06/2021 09:00 AM
    Estimated restore time and water supply back on: 15/06/2021 04:00 PM

    We’re improving your services and undertaking maintenance work in Elizabeth East. 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