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Number of water main breaks decrease in SA

The number of water main breaks and leaks across SA Water's network has decreased by just over 25 per cent in 2017 as compared to the previous year, according to SA Water.

The utilities said for the year 2017 (up to December 31), there were 3128 incidents recorded, down from 4216 the year before.

SA Water General Manager of Asset Operations and Delivery Mark Gobbie said the improved outcomes were the result of the corporation's capital investment program and weather conditions.

"We’ve put 123.5km of new water mains in the ground over the past 18 months, removing and replacing pipes that had a history of breaks," Gobbie said.

"The mostly mild transitions between the seasons last year also kept soil moisture levels more consistent, noticeably reducing the impact of movement within Adelaide’s reactive clay soils."

He mentioned that incorporating more technology into its network also helped SA Water’s results, with real-time information being gathered from its CBD smart network.

"Our water main network comprises more than 27,000km 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," Mark said.

"[But] the facts confirm the reliability of SA Water’s network is… improving."

This finding by SA Water is supported by the Bureau of Meteorology’s National Performance Report (NPR) 2015-16, which identified SA Water’s network as one of the best performing in Australia.

According to the report, in 2015/16, SA Water customers experienced 14.9 water main breaks or leaks per 100km of pipe, which was lower than the national average of 25.7.

Queensland’s Unity Water achieved the best result during that period, with 3.7 breaks per 100km, while Victoria’s Yarra Valley Water had the most room for improvement.

SA Water added that its ongoing water main replacement program will see $137 million invested to replace around 375km of water main across the region, between 2016 and 2020.