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. We fix faults promptly, and work hard to safely restore water services.

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

But it’s more than repair. 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 Australian households. It also helps ensure businesses, schools and hospitals can access the water they need to prosper and serve the community.

We do not prioritise water mains for renewal based on pipe 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 (i.e. previous failure history)
  • the consequence of water main breaks (i.e. customer interruption)
  • if the water main is causing a restriction (i.e. 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.

Sometimes when we’re repairing or replacing our pipes, we need to let water out of a valve or hydrant further down the network. This helps relieve pressure on the area of main we’re working on and minimises the chance of a rupture occurring nearby.

We try to limit the impacts of this work by advising the community when this method is required and only letting out as much water as needed. If you do see a fault in our network, please call our 24/7 fault report line on 1300 883 121 or report a fault online.

How we involve you

We understand the impact any SA Water work may have on the community. Before planned main replacements, we provide advance notice to local councils, residents and businesses. This helps to increase awareness in the community of upcoming work in their area. 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.

  • Major faults

  • Resolved

  • Bray St
  • Plympton Park
  • 11/09/2019
  • Water Supply On
  • 11/09/2019 09:53 PM - We are attending to an incident in Plympton Park 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: 07126521.
  • See all major faults

  • Scheduled works

  • Underway
  • Brighton Rd
  • Brighton
  • 11/09/2019
  • Temporary Supply Interruption
  • Estimated start time and water supply off: 09/09/2019 12:30 PM
    Estimated restore time and water supply back on: 16/09/2019 12:30 PM

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