There has been a good deal of publicity in the media these past few weeks following the flooding of 7 homes and substantial damage to 40 others in Paradise.
In country areas, S.A. Water has its own staff carry out SAW’s repairs and maintenance but in the city and metropolitan areas, this has been contracted out to All Water.
The incident occurred when maintenance and cleaning was being carried out on two tanks holding water. Due to human error a huge surge of water caused the pipe to burst. Water flooded down two vacant blocks into a cul-de-sac and pooled there causing the damage. This pipe that burst is 100- years old, but had been inspected in 2014 and found to be in good condition. Inspection of the pipes after the incident confirmed this. The problem was not due to lack of pipe maintenance or replacement. It took 3 hours to turn off the feeder runs from the burst pipe so as not to cause any further bursts.
SAW’s response to the incident was within their regulatory time frame and although staff didn’t attend the area the evening of the burst they were working behind the scenes and visited people affected the following day organising cartons of water and accommodation where required, which in late March was still on-going.
Nether-the-less SA Water realises that there needs to be some changes made for the future. They have organised an emergency response team with a manager which can be brought together within an hour. Two people from this will visit the site and liaise with customers following any catastrophic future burst. In addition a dedicated spokesperson will be appointed to answer media enquiries.
Consumers SA sit on SA Water’s Residential Customers Advisory Group, and have asked that in future we kept informed of proceedings following large bursts so we can advise members via our web site.