Year in review

Year in review

Driving customer outcomes

We provide our customers with safe, smart, reliable and affordable water services. To achieve this, we maintain trust, ensure water quality and asset reliability, and provide continuity of service by preventing or minimising temporary service interruptions.

We deploy connected and intelligent assets to make smart decisions and operate efficiently so our services remain affordable.

Price reduction for customers

A significant price reduction came into effect on 1 July 2020 with the average household saving approximately $200 each year, and the average business receiving savings of about $1,350.

Statewide pricing means the majority of our customers pay the same price per kilolitre of water, no matter where they live or the actual cost of supplying that location. Sewerage prices, based on the capital value of a customer’s property

as set by the Valuer-General, are also designed so that costs are as consistent as possible across the state.

Our pricing continues to compare favourably to our national peers, as measured in the Bureau of Meteorology’s National performance report 2019-20: urban water utilities, which was released in February 2021. Based on 200 kilolitres, our annual residential water and sewerage bill is mid-range among 15 similar-sized utilities around the country.

Aligned with the June 2020 regulatory determination from the Essential Services Commission of South Australia, released in June 2021, it was announced that prices for 2021-22 will increase by CPI of 1.1 per cent.

Sustaining our networks

Through our ongoing work to maintain and sustain our networks, we invested $320.9 million in our water network and infrastructure, and $117.5 million in our wastewater network and infrastructure. This included the continued expansion of smart technologies to optimise the operation and maintenance of our networks and assets.

Through our water main management program, in 2020-21 we installed approximately 60 kilometres of new water mains with 17.6 kilometres laid in metropolitan Adelaide and 42.4 kilometres in country areas of the state.

Across our 27,000 km water network, there were 3,624 water main leaks and breaks in 2020-21.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s National Performance Report 2019-20: urban water utilities, released in February 2021, shows we performed favourably among our peers, particularly with a reduction in the number of water main leaks and breaks, from 15 per 100 kilometres of main in 2018-19 to 13.5 in 2019-20, which is far lower than the national average of 22.3.

This positive result was reflected in our reporting for the 2020 calendar year, with a 12 per cent reduction in the number of water main incidents compared to 2019. The decrease is typical of more favourable weather conditions and buoyed by our continued strong investment in water main management.

2019-20 regulatory performance standardsachieved

In March 2021, the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) reported on outcomes against our service standards for 2019-20.

Of the 18 service standards, 17 were met outright and the final standard considered to have been achieved on best endeavours, on the basis that it was within one per cent of the target and with mitigating circumstances for a proportion of the missed events.

In 2019-20, we met or exceeded all standards in the metropolitan and regional areas for restoration timeliness for water and sewerage service interruptions.

While the duration of unplanned sewer interruptions was identified as an area for improvement, initiatives we have implemented resulted in a reduction in the duration of unplanned water interruptions in 2019-20. It came down in metropolitan areas from 243 minutes in 2018-19 to 204 minutes, and in regional areas from 233 minutes in 2018-19 to 201 minutes.

In addition, we reported fewer unplanned service interruptions in the water network in 2019-20 compared to the two previous years.

We have implemented plans to investigate and reduce the frequency and duration of unplanned interruptions and continue to monitor our performance improvements in this area.

In metropolitan areas in 2019-20, our crews attended 100 per cent of water network breaks and leaks within target timeframes, and in regional areas they attended 99 per cent within target timeframes.

The number of customer complaints across both water and sewerage services, remained steady at 1,597, compared with 1,568 in 2018-19 and we responded to 98 per cent of written complaints in a timely manner. According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s National performance report 2019-20: urban water utilities, we are among the major national water utilities receiving the least water and sewerage complaints, with two per 1,000 properties in 2019-20.

ESCOSA’s annual Regulatory Performance Report details our performance against regulatory requirements relating to customer service, financial assistance provided to customers, and the reliability of drinking water and sewerage services.

The targets are based on average historical performance, and are set high to meet our customers’ expectations.

For a full copy of the 2019-20 SA Water Regulatory Performance Report, visit escosa.sa.gov.au.

Digital services for customers

In 2020-21, our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system has expanded to include our commercial customers, conveyancers, plumbers and managing agents, giving these customers the option to take up eBilling.

In addition, the CRM is now being used to capture and manage feedback and complaints enabling us to improve our customer service responses through better understanding of our customers.

At 30 June 2021, there were 235,842 properties receiving eBills, up from 154,054 the previous year. Of these, nearly 149,000 properties were registered with mySAWater, our online account management service.

The range of digital forms available on our website continues to grow with eight added to the suite this year including trade waste, irrigated open spaces and deceased estates.

Technology enhances business

Technology is used in a range of leading ways across our business and has continued to improve how we operate and provide services for our customers. Here are some examples of how we have introduced and/or used technology in 2020-21.

Smart maintenance

Through the installation of sensors on pumps in our network in 2020-21, we are using technology to identify and forecast when a pump repair or replacement is needed before failure occurs.

The smart condition monitoring technologies provide accurate insight into an asset’s health by measuring vibration displacement of the shaft, and bearing vibrations on our operating rotating equipment such as pumps.

Waveform data is captured and analysed using machine learning, and an alert is raised if the asset is showing signs of known fault conditions, or if the pump is vibrating outside normal parameters. This enables well-informed decisions to be made about the urgency of repair, rehabilitation options or asset replacement.

Underwater robotics

This year we trialled the use of underwater robotics to optimise operational activities and asset inspections.

To understand its capabilities and benefits, we used the innovative underwater remote operated vehicle (uROV) to inspect water storage tanks, reservoir infrastructure, and at water treatment plants.

The robot provides high resolution underwater imaging to enable internal inspections of our underwater assets and structures that must remain operating to maintain supply for our customers.

The uROV is an innovative tool that reduces risk to safety, water quality and continuity of supply when undertaking inspections of online water storage and processes. Beyond the trial it continues to be used across our business.

Virtual reality

Using 3D modelling, our Engineering team is improving the way we work. The virtual reality tool provides a physical representation of a new asset and

this year was used in Safety in Design workshops and training scenarios for high-risk activities. The 3D technology helps identify risks and hazards that are difficult to spot in a 2D engineering drawing.

In 2020-21 we conducted 103 virtual tours and completed 18 laser scans, which are used to create 3D maps. The 40 maps available are being used for a range of tasks including:

  • creating virtual reality environments
  • remote condition assessments for infrastructure
  • detailed design
  • Safety in Design
  • reducing or eliminating the need for site visits
  • virtual tours.

Aerial solar panel inspections

Our fleet of drones was used to conduct aerial inspections of our solar panel arrays as part of regular maintenance on the panels to ensure their optimal performance. The drones use thermal image analysis to diagnose any faults and check for overloaded components, uneven voltage distribution, failed or fatigued components, and dead battery cells.

Apps for field teams

Our field-based teams across the state are using new technology with the release of the myWork and Cappture apps which reduce manual processes and support improved response times. Both apps were developed and built by our people to ensure they meet the specific needs of our business.

The myWork app enables our field operations, maintenance, and production and treatment workers to raise new work requirements quickly and easily without having to contact multiple colleagues. This streamlines and brings efficiency to their workflow.

Cappture provides a robust, reliable and efficient single point entry for data collected by our Production and Treatment team. Data captured in the app is immediately available on a web- based dashboard enabling our people to see trends in the real-time data and identify treatment performance changes over time.

New capital works program begins

Our new four-year capital works program has begun, to ensure water services continue to improve for South Australians.

In July 2020, work began on four key projects being delivered as part of the capital program:

Working with our new water north delivery partner, McConnell Dowell Diona joint venture, the $7.5 million Barossa Growth project will see about 4,500 metres of new water mains laid across the Northern Adelaide plains near Two Wells and Gawler. This will overcome water pressure challenges and enable ongoing growth in the region.

With our new wastewater framework partner Fulton Hogan, the $5 million upgrade of the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant is set to improve the quality of treated water that is recycled to green the Adelaide Park Lands or released back to the environment.

At Myponga Water Treatment Plant we worked together with our water south framework partner, John Holland Guidera O’Connor joint venture, to repair concrete bunds. This work prevents any potential processing chemical spills from impacting the surrounding environment and enable swift and safe clean up.

Work began on the installation of UV disinfection at the Happy Valley Water Treatment Plant. This $21.4 million project is being delivered by our framework partner John Holland Guidera O’Connor joint venture. Construction started in October 2020 and the UV reactors arrived on site in June 2021. When complete, this project will help keep drinking water supplied by the treatment plant clean and safe for our customers.

Wastewater upgrades ensure reliability

In 2020-21, work to ensure reliable wastewater services included:

Tea Tree Gully Sustainable Sewers - work began at two pilot sites in Modbury with 134 metres of sewer main laid and 10 of 17 customers in Glenere Drive connected to our sewer network by 30 June 2021. Significant engagement with Tea Tree Gully customers has ensured their active involvement in the project, influencing how it will be rolled out.

Anaerobic digester at Port Lincoln Wastewater Treatment Plant - in late 2020, the eight-metre-high digester began operating. The digester is used in one of the final treatment stages, helping to process sludge and transform it into a source of renewable energy called biogas. The biogas is used to help power the treatment plant, ensuring sustainable waste management and resource recovery which reduces the plant’s carbon footprint. Other works delivered in 2020-21 include installation of the new odour control system, dewatering plant, and general site drainage and road upgrades.

Finger Point pipeline upgrade - this $11 million project was completed in early 2021 with the installation of about seven kilometres of new sewer main near Finger Point. This replaced a section of the 30-kilometre pipe responsible for delivering the wastewater from around 26,000 Mount Gambier residents and businesses to the region’s wastewater treatment facility.

Water storage boost for Port Lincoln

A new 10-million-litre concrete tank to boost Port Lincoln’s water storage capacity was finished in June 2021.

Part of our ongoing investment to ensure a reliable supply for Eyre Peninsula customers, especially during the warmer months, the six-metre-high tank joins two existing concrete water tanks, increasing total storage at the site to 19 million litres of safe, clean drinking water.

The tank is 51 metres in diameter and covered with a specialised liner to ensure the safety of treated drinking water within the network.

Working with our contractor, we reduced construction time by 75 per cent, delivering the project in six months, significantly less than the traditional timeframe of two years.

This was achieved by fabricating the pre-cast concrete panels off site and craning them into place. This method also reduced the working at height risks and was less labour intensive onsite.

Improved water qualityfor Fleurieu customers

In March 2021, the drinking water treatment method for customers in Yankalilla, Normanville and Carrickalinga was changed from chlorine to chloramine.

The change completed stage two of the Fleurieu Water Quality Improvement project.

The final disinfection process for customers in these three towns is applied to cleaned and filtered drinking water sourced from the Myponga Reservoir.

Changing from chlorine to chloramine ensures water supplied to customers on the Fleurieu Peninsula remains clean and safe to drink, but with a slightly different and improved flavour profile.

Engaging with the local communities, our team on the ground kept customers informed through the changeover process, including answering questions and offering a taste of the new and improved water supply.

SCADA centralisationa national finalist

The centralisation of our Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system was acknowledged as a finalist in the 2020 Digital Utility Awards.

SCADA is critical infrastructure that monitors and controls our assets that provide water to our customers’ taps, and safely transport and treat wastewater.

Until now, general SCADA practice has been decentralised with critical infrastructure onsite to operate and manage assets. This means if there are failures or issues, site visits are required to assess and undertake repairs. Our team looked for a new and more efficient way to operate and our industry-leading approach to virtualise SCADA has delivered a more robust, resilient and cost effective system that enables us to remotely monitor, control, upgrade and provide quicker operational and disaster recovery support.

The project to centralise SCADA saw:

  • the system extended and developed to support additional assets as our network grows
  • replacement of our decentralised platform to a central, virtual solution
  • our ongoing operational stability and delivery of essential water services with minimal impact on services in any situation, ranging from isolated issues to statewide power interruptions or targeted cyber-attacks.

Woolpunda water wins

Water produced at our Woolpunda Treatment Plant in the Riverland was awarded South Australia’s top drop in the annual Water Industry Operators Association of Australia best tasting tap water competition.

Water in the Woolpunda system is treated with chloramine and last won in 2018. State winners from the past five years have all come from the Riverland.

Clear result

Customers interested in learning more about the quality and content of their drinking water can now use our online search tool, Your Drinking Water Profile, launched in July 2020.

This new tool presents our water quality data in a simple and accessible way for our customers.

After entering their postcode or suburb name, customers can see water quality information for their location. It is tailored to four popular topics:

  • essentials
  • appliances
  • baristas, brewers or bakers
  • aquariums.

There is also the option to download a print-friendly report that provides a complete analysis of what makes up their drinking water.

Laboratory expertise expands

The Australian Water Quality Centre (AWQC), our national laboratory service, began a three-year partnership in July 2020 with Yarra Valley Water in Victoria. The partnership sees our AWQC Laboratory Services Team supply field sampling and testing, laboratory analysis and reporting services across a network which serves more than 1.9 million people in Melbourne’s northern and eastern suburbs.

The AWQC’s Melbourne laboratory is the base for the new contract, with our Adelaide team supporting the work with various specialised services and technology.

Following storms in Victoria in late August 2020, the AWQC responded quickly when Melbourne Water and Yarra Valley Water issued a boil water notice to about 200,000 residents living in more than 100 suburbs.

AWQC field technicians and water quality scientists played a critical role in providing the required water quality monitoring services by continuously sampling and testing water to assess the quality to protect public health. The boil water notice was lifted after two days when the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services was confident the water supply had not been contaminated.

In June 2021 when severe storms again hit parts of Melbourne and the Dandenong Ranges, the AWQC provided critical monitoring services for Yarra Valley Water whose customers in Kallista, Sherbrooke and The Patch were directed not to drink tap water after a water tank was damaged.

Laboratory Services teams worked around the clock to provide emergency water quality sampling and testing services at sampling points across the affected suburbs.

Our Melbourne-based AWQC team moved into new laboratories in April 2021. Equipped with advanced instrumentation for the analysis of water and wastewater, the facilities enable us to accommodate increasing demand for sampling, field testing and laboratory analysis services from eastern states water utilities.

In January 2021, the AWQC attained National Association of Testing Authorities accreditation for the analysis of radiation in waters, sediments and sludges, and now provides this valuable service to our business and other utilities and organisations around the country.

Informed decision-makingthrough risk management

Strategic risk management supports our forward planning and critical thinking to enable well-informed decision-making across our operations. We work to the principles of risk management as set out in the international risk management standard AS ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management – Guidelines.

To ensure we have appropriate and adequate control measures in place, an updated risk profile was developed in 2020-21.

Water for the future

Our production and treatment activities ensure the water we provide is fit for our customers to use, and to be recycled or returned to the environment. We harvest, store, treat, distribute and reuse water to provide fit for purpose water services to our customers to stimulate economic growth and meet customer needs.

Watersecurity for Kangaroo Island

In 2020-21 we continued our extensive customer engagement with the Kangaroo Island community as we progressed planning for a new desalination plant for the Island.

Face-to-fe and online meetings were held in late 2020 and early 2021 with the wider Kangaroo Island community and businesses interested in helping deliver the project. This was supported by information sessions in January for the towns of American River, Baudin Beach, Island Beach and Sapphiretown.

Feedback from residents in these towns helped identify the level of interest for a new water connection from the new desalination plant and enabled us to share project information.

To inform the preferred location of the new desalination plant and ensure we protect and preserve the surrounding natural environment both during construction and once the plant is operational, we have also carried out environment and geotechnical investigations in a number of locations. These works will contribute to the design development of the new desalination plant.

Eyre Peninsula desalination site options explored

Investigations into potential alternative sites for the planned Eyre Peninsula seawater desalination plant were undertaken in 2020-21.

Through our ongoing engagement with the Eyre Peninsula community on future water security for the region, we continued to have conversations with local stakeholders as part of our assessment process for an alternative site that enables cost-effective delivery.

Extensive industry and community consultation was undertaken through a series of meetings, presentations and sessions including with:

  • aquaculture and fisheries representatives
  • southern Eyre Peninsula councils
  • Eyre Peninsula-based government agencies
  • community drop-in sessions.

Feedback has reinforced the importance of water security and timely project delivery, as well as maintaining the marine and terrestrial environment.

The drinking water supply for Eyre Peninsula residents remains secure until the desalination plant is complete.

State-of-the-art desalination plant for Yalata

Construction began in June 2021 on a $2.3 million desalination plant in the Aboriginal community of Yalata on the state’s far west coast, ensuring a continued, reliable and safe supply of drinking water to local residents and businesses.

The predominantly solar powered 160 kilolitre/day plant will replace the existing facility, which is nearing the end of its useful asset life. About 3.8 kilometres of dual-connecting pipework servicing local customers will also be replaced.

Through construction and operation, the Yalata Desalination Plant supports goals in our stretch Reconciliation Action Plan for 2020-23 including:

  • supporting liveability and a better life in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • supporting communities with safe drinking water and wastewater services.

New connection demand increases

We support and promote the health and wellbeing of an active, thriving South Australia. This is achieved by building sustainable and liveable communities. We share new ways of using water effectively and efficiently to create comfortable green spaces that support wellbeing.

Through actions to achieve reconciliation, we support stronger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by helping to create economic opportunities.

Healthy communities

We support and promote the health and wellbeing of an active, thriving South Australia. This is achieved by building sustainable and liveable communities. We share new ways of using water effectively and efficiently to create comfortable green spaces that support wellbeing.

Through actions to achieve reconciliation, we support stronger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by helping to create economic opportunities.

Delivering our Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan

Delivering our Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan 2020-23 began in July 2020.

The plan focuses on actions in four areas:

  • community relationships
  • respect cultural and social recognition
  • economic opportunities and improving life and liveability
  • good governance and reporting.

Among the actions is increased support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses through direct employment for various capital projects as well as encouraging our major contractors and partners to set supplier diversity targets and procurement policies.

In 2020-21, we spent more than $2.3 million with Aboriginal businesses, comprising a direct spend in excess of $500,000 and indirect spend of more than $1.7 million.

Other achievements this year:

  • At 30 June 2021, Aboriginal employment was 2.80 per cent, having peaked at 2.95 per cent in May.
  • Acknowledgment of Country on entry signs were installed outside all Adelaide metropolitan operational sites.
  • Cultural awareness training continued to be provided for our people with 60 per cent having completed the training as at 30 June 2021.
  • Our Water Wisdom video series was broadcast on the ABC’s education channel, ABC ME, and made available on ABC iView.
  • Our Twinning Program continued, this year supporting Tauondi Aboriginal College.

We continued to deliver a plumbing course that empowers community members to fix water leaks. In 2020-21 we expanded to offer the course to Aboriginal communities on the far west coast of South Australia. Across the west coast and Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, 220 community members took part in the course this year.

Community and cultural space opens

In November 2020, the community and cultural space at our new Murray Bridge Wastewater Pump Station on Jervois Road in Swanport was opened, following the completion of unique design, artwork and planting of about 7,400 native plants.

The landscape and architectural design of the pump station site shares the culture of the Ngarrindjeri people, who are the region’s Traditional Owners, and their connection to water. Aboriginal architect and visual artist Paul Herzich guided the process to bring the landscape design to life. The plants are irrigated with recycled water from the nearby wastewater treatment plant.

The pump station has been given the Ngarrindjeri name ‘Nankeri tapatawangk’, meaning ‘place of good water’.

An interpretive walking trail at the site depicts the important water sites within Ngarrindjeri Country, including the River Murray, Long Island, Murray Mouth, Coorong, Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert. The trail will eventually connect into the Rural City of Murray Bridge’s section of the Murray Coorong Trail.

Installed at the head of the trail are two large mosaic-covered sculptures of ‘Kungari nga:tadi’ – black swan eggs – which were crafted by Adelaide artist Andrew Stock, with contribution from students at Unity College in Murray Bridge.

The space creates a visually appealing southern entrance to Murray Bridge.

Reconciliation partnerships

In 2020-21, we partnered with seven community organisations and events through our inaugural Reconciliation Partnerships Program known as Pirku-Itya, the Kaurna word meaning ‘for community’.

Pirku-Itya supports grassroots Aboriginal organisations and not-for-profits across South Australia to run events and programs which contribute to important reconciliation outcomes. The program is an action from our Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan 2020-23.

From helping the Nipapanha Aboriginal Community Corporation to create a cultural heritage museum at Irish Well Hut in the northern Flinders Ranges, to establishing a native foods garden with Moonta's Nharangga Aboriginal Progress Association, each of our partnerships are making a real difference in helping achieve reconciliation outcomes.

More than a word

National Reconciliation Week in 2021 focused on the theme More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.

Through the week, we used our social media channels to share what the theme means to our people.

We brought many of our people together in Adelaide, Berri, Goolwa and Port Lincoln to acknowledge the unique and rich cultural connection through ceremony, dance, enjoying native foods and flavours.

In addition, we participated in the National Reconciliation Week breakfast and the Aboriginal Power Cup Carnival which engages young people with Aboriginal culture, education, healthy lifestyle choices, and teamwork, leadership, resilience and life skills.

Creating green spaces

In 2020-21 we adopted a new approach to our property holdings and land around our infrastructure looking for ways to transform these into greener spaces to support thriving communities.

Land and vegetation were refreshed at Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant and Ethelton Wastewater Pump Station as demonstration sites for Indigenous landscaping, water sensitive urban design and stormwater reuse.

In addition, greening and cooling was improved at our depots in Clare, Port Augusta and Woodside.

Liveability through urban planning

By building new partnerships with communities, and state and local government, we are developing and sharing new ways of using water to create green spaces which support wellbeing and liveability in South Australia.

Through these relationships, we have influenced and shared ways to use water effectively to create greening and cooling.

This year we collaborated with organisations including:

  • Nharangga Aboriginal Progress Association
  • Australian Institute of Landscape Architects
  • Nursery Garden Industry of South Australia
  • SA Autumn Garden Festival
  • St Mary's College
  • Westside Housing
  • Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.

Misting systems were installed at four community schools on the APY Lands, to help keep students cool. In addition, we worked with teachers and students to share knowledge about how to fix their own water taps. To support ongoing education and effective water use, we also provided the schools with soil moisture probes and air temperature sensors.

Through our ongoing focus on effective water use we continue to explore new technology and innovative approaches. In 2020-21, we installed smart irrigation services for four local councils, two in metropolitan Adelaide and two in regional areas, helping them maintain affordable green open spaces by enabling improved management and optimisation of their water use.

To prevent tree root intrusion in our water and wastewater networks, we worked together with local councils to install four tree root barriers. This trial tests a low-cost option to minimise temporary service interruptions for our customers by reducing blockages caused by tree roots.

Expanded access at reservoir reserves

The progressive opening of reservoir reserves for recreational access has continued.

In December 2020, Hope Valley Reservoir Reserve was opened for land-based activities, and in March 2021 at Myponga Reservoir Reserve, on-water access was opened and the accessible land-based area expanded.

An upgrade to facilities at Warren Reservoir Reserve was completed in April 2021 providing visitors with improved car parking, increased picnic facilities, additional toilets and a kayak launch facility.

The kayak launch facilities at Myponga and Warren reservoir reserves are fully accessible and are the first of their kind in South Australia.

To support recreational fishing, about 90,000 native fish were stocked across South Para, Beetaloo and Bundaleer reservoirs.

Community engagement was undertaken on plans for Happy Valley, Mount Bold and Little Para reservoir reserves.

The concept plans for Happy Valley Reservoir Reserve, released in April 2021, were developed with the local community and representatives from environmental and recreational groups.

There was unanimous support for the concept which balances a range of land-based and on-water activities with the natural environment and protection of water quality.

In June 2021, we reached more than 226,000 visitors to reservoir reserves since April 2019.

The first Reservoirs Partnership Program opened in late 2020 providing sponsorship opportunities for grassroot

activities and initiatives using the reservoir reserves. Four community groups were selected to receive support with outcomes from these activities to be seen in 2021-22.

Supporting the state’s COVID-19 response

In the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to support our customers, the South Australian community and our people.

As part of the South Australian Government public sector workforce mobilisation, we provided personnel

to undertake a range of tasks including contact tracing, SA Police administration support, State Emergency Information Contact Call Centre support and hospital concierge duties.

With business continuity plans in place, our people responded rapidly to the statewide circuit breaker lockdown

in November 2020. Frontline teams implemented operating models to protect their health and office-based workers able to work from home did so. This enabled business-critical teams to continue working safely at our shared workplaces.

Services for customers remained unaffected by the lockdown. Throughout this period, we kept our people and customers safe by implementing and maintaining state government community and public sector risk measures.

Working on behalf of the Murray Darling Basin Authority, our River Murray operations team continued their work along the river, including in New South Wales and Victoria through periods of border restrictions.

Sewer subs

Building on the work done in 2019-20, this year we continued to provide COVID-19 wastewater testing for South Australia and began testing for Tasmania, as well as some businesses.

In early 2021, we began trialling submarine-like devices in our COVID-19 wastewater testing. The devices are sent into our wastewater network to test for COVID-19 in untreated sewage, fast- tracking our ability to help with the state’s pandemic response.

The 20-centimetre-long ‘sewer submarines’ are 3D printed in-house and can be submerged in wastewater for up to 24 hours. They enable higher resolution of testing results.

Quite quickly the technology proved to be an effective sampling tool bringing improved efficiency to the process.

Sewage surveillance awarded

In November 2020, our nation-leading efforts to monitor and detect COVID-19 in wastewater was awarded at the Australian Water Association’s South Australian Water Awards.

Won together with Water Research Australia, the award for Excellence in Research and Development recognised our efforts with SA Health to monitor and identify possible COVID-19 cases through analysing wastewater samples from eight wastewater treatment plants across metropolitan and regional South Australia.

Trusting tap

To support people completing 14 days of quarantine when returning home to South Australia from overseas, we worked with SA Health to provide information about the safety of our tap water.

A tap tag was developed to reassure returning travellers of the stringent drinking water standards we meet to provide clean, safe tap water.

In addition, we provided a BYOB bottle with a brochure that explained how we meet or exceed national drinking water quality targets that are regulated by SA Health, and that we follow the Australian framework endorsed by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Community education, events and engagement

In 2020-21 we updated our education program – The Well. This included a refreshed suite of Australian Curriculum-aligned workshops and sessions for school students.

Participation in our education and community programs was lower than usual due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Over the year we had 5,060 students participate in The Well, including 250 Aboriginal students on the APY Lands and the far west coast of the state.

The Kauwi Centre at the Adelaide Desalination Plant was updated to create a space for water exploration which supports delivery of The Well sessions and workshops, as well as community tours of the desalination plant.

With approval from SA Health, in September 2020 we resumed providing our Quench Benches at community events. Through to the end of June 2021, we delivered 9,000 litres of safe, clean drinking water at 35 events including:

  • Tasting Australia
  • Festival of Cycling
  • Ozwater’21
  • Coastrek
  • Southern Deadly Fun Run.

Through our Water Talks website, we engaged with 15,957 people on a range of projects underway across the state including:

  • Kangaroo Island desalination plant
  • recreational access to reservoirs
  • Tea Tree Gully wastewater connection
  • Eyre Peninsula desalination plant.

Water Talks was used to support community involvement in our art on infrastructure project at Myponga Reservoir Reserve.

Partnerships support grass-roots community activities

This year we supported nine community projects through our Community Partnerships Program. The program offers small scale financial or in-kind support to not-for-profit community organisations to deliver events and projects across regional and metropolitan South Australia. The successful recipients deliver water-related events or programs and help us achieve our goal of being a partner organisation within communities.

  • 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