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SA Water pipe replacement program reaches milestone

SA Water pipe replacement program reaches milestone

SA Water’s 2016–20 main replacement program has reached a milestone, replacing more than 100 km of water mains throughout South Australia.

The four-year AU$137 million program is designed to reduce the number of water main breaks and leaks and limit the impact these incidents have on SA Water’s customers, road users and the wider community.

It includes the replacement of approximately 375 km of water main over the four-year period.

Traditionally, water mains have an asset life of around 100 years; however, a pipe’s age is not always an indication of its potential to experience a performance issue – more than 50 per cent of SA Water’s mains are less than 51 years old.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s recent National Performance Report for urban water utilities states that in 2015-16 SA Water customers experienced 14.9 breaks per 100 km of pipe, compared to the national average of 25.7; only 5 other Australian water utilities achieved a better rate.

By September this year, there had been 2,528 water main breaks and leaks across the South Australia, a 24 per cent decrease compared to the same time in 2016.

In Adelaide’s metropolitan area, the number of incidents during this time dropped by almost 30 per cent.

A statement from the Office of Water and the River Murray Minister Ian Hunter attributed the reduction to two key factors: an increase in the number of water mains being replaced in SA Water’s network; and more consistent rainfall that slowly eased into drier periods, resulting in more stable moisture levels in Adelaide’s clay soils.

“Earlier this year, we announced an additional AU$55 million investment for SA Water’s main replacement program – this demonstrates this State Government’s commitment to improving the reliability of the state’s water supply network,” said Mr Hunter.

“This was a sound investment that is already contributing to an improvement in the performance of the water network, with a notable reduction in the number of water main breaks and leaks this year.

“As part of SA Water’s ongoing water main replacement program, they’re renewing pipes in regional areas, on busy arterial roads and in suburban streets, all with their customers and the wider community at the front of mind.

“Despite news reports to the contrary, the facts confirm the performance of SA Water’s network is very good and continually improving.”

SA Water Chief Executive Roch Cheroux said, “Our water main network comprises more than 27,000 km of pressurised pipe often laid within highly reactive clay soils, so we must be realistic and acknowledge we won’t ever completely stop all water main breaks and leaks.

“I’m really pleased with both the progress of our water main replacement program and the vastly improved way we respond to incidents.

“For example, our Community Support team mobilises quickly across the metropolitan area to support our customers during and after the process of repairing breaks and leaks.

“We’re getting on with improving the reliability of our water network, so the community can get on with their everyday lives.”

For more information visit the SA Water website.

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