Annual Reports

Annual Reports

A message from the incoming Chair

In ordinary circumstances, a Chair of the Board would reflect on the year past and contemplate the year ahead. Having been appointed in the new reporting year, I will rely on David Ryan as Chief Executive to provide commentary on the year in review and, more usefully, I will write about the challenges ahead.

SA Water is central to the well- being and prosperity of South Australians. It is a big business and a major employer. It provides essential water and wastewater services to almost every community in the state. SA Water is a state-owned corporation providing a financial dividend to the government. It is regulated by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia and, while it has a degree of independence in operation, it must satisfy the legitimate expectations of the government. However, it is a long-term business, and a careful balance has to be struck between the prices customers are charged, the dividend the government is paid, the investment made in infrastructure, and the service standards set and delivered.

Of course, we must also concern ourselves with sustainable practice, aiming for net zero carbon emissions, and anticipating and managing the impacts of climate change. Wise investment now and prudent financial management will safeguard our operations and prepare us for an uncertain future.

An effective board will help navigate the complexities of a state-owned enterprise that has to balance these many factors in conducting its business. A good board will oversee the operations of SA Water with the main objective of ensuring the business is run properly through good strategy, sound governance, an appropriate culture, and effective relationships within and outside government.

I come to the role of Chair after a career in public service, predominantly in the management of the environment and natural resources. As a long-term Chief Executive, I understand the particular challenges of working in government, the value of trust, openness, and respect, and I look forward to contributing to this important enterprise.

The last year has provided more than its fair share of challenges. The pandemic, growing inflation rates, resource scarcity, a tight employment market, and escalation in energy costs, have all had their impacts. The future will continue to challenge us.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), in its once-in-a-decade report, Our Future World, draws attention to seven megatrends that will shape our future. Almost all of these will affect the way SA Water does its business, especially adapting to climate change; moving to be leaner, cleaner, and greener (as resource constraints bite); diving into the digital; and becoming increasingly autonomous (the impact of artificial intelligence). We must embrace this future or risk failing in our business.

To conclude, I acknowledge the contribution of all Board members and thank David Ryan and his Executive team for their leadership of the corporation. Finally, to the staff and partners of SA Water, thank you for your dedication and service to all South Australians.

Allan Holmes
Chair of the Board

A message from the Chief Executive

Our business remained strong in 2021-22, despite steep increases in electricity costs and significant financial outlay for our new Adelaide Service Delivery contracts.

We remain a significant contributor to the economy and government, with $208.9 million paid in 2021-22.

As we continue to deliver Our Strategy 2020-25 in this time of sustained change, our people and our business have remained strong and steady in 2021-22.

I am proud of how we have continuously adapted to respond to challenges. Recognising the opportunities this transformative point in history has presented, we launched several corporate strategies, focusing on Customer and Community, Environment, Technology, and People and Safety. These corporate strategies set ambitious targets in key areas to deliver trusted water services for a sustainable and healthy South Australia, and include our commitment to net zero emissions, base load requirements operating on 100 per cent renewable energy and year on year net improvements in biodiversity on our landholdings by 2030.

We made great progress with our Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan 2020-25 and invested $7.98 million with Aboriginal businesses in 2021-22, comprising a direct spend of $1.16m and indirect spend of $6.82 million. In September 2021, we delivered a new, state-of-the-art desalination plant at Yalata on the state’s far west coast which is now supplying water to local residents and businesses in the Aboriginal community. We also commissioned a replacement desalination plant and new solar installation at Kaltjiti in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in June 2022, making real improvements to liveability in Aboriginal communities.

Our fourth diversity employee network group, Able Together, was launched in April 2022, delivering an action committed to in our Disability Assess and Inclusion Plan. This advisory group is building a sense of community and awareness for accessibility in our workplace and community.

I look forward to seeing how Able Together helps us build a more diverse and inclusive business that supports not only our people, but also the diverse access needs of our communities and customers.

On the state and national stage, we continue to be recognised as a leading utility. Among accolades received in 2021-22, we were the only major utility and the only organisation to be recognised with two awards at the National Australian Water Association Awards when our Zero Cost Energy Future program won the Infrastructure Project Innovation (metro) Award and the Our Customers Program took out the Customer Experience Award.

A year in, the successful Adelaide Service Delivery partnerships are going strong. This new way of operating for our business set high expectations for both the Production and Treatment Alliance with SUEZ and the Field Operations Metro partnership with ServiceStream. I’m pleased with its success, with consistent achievement of customer service targets, despite the expected challenges of implementing a new operating model, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting supply chain and workforce constraints.

One of the largest government contracts for project and program management services in the state, our innovative Capital Works Plan Program model went from strength to strength in 2021-22 and continued to deliver efficiencies. Together with our joint venture partners, KBR and Aurecon, we’re getting on with the business of delivering essential water projects for South Australia. From dam upgrades and water tank refurbishments to sewerage network main replacements and water and wastewater treatment upgrades, this joint venture is resulting in an adaptive, efficient, and creative team producing culturally sensitive and environmentally sustainable outcomes.

Through extreme weather events in 2021-22 our people demonstrated their commitment to our customers and communities.

Fires in the south-east of South Australia and flooding across large areas of the normally arid north and west in January 2022 saw some places receiving more rain in two days than they’d normally receive in a year. Many teams across our business worked quickly, efficiently, and tirelessly to minimise impacts to our customers from these extreme events.

In all conditions, all our people work to make life flow for our customers and communities.

On behalf of the Executive, thank you for your commitment to the business of ensuring we deliver for our customers right across South Australia.

I also thank Andrew Fletcher for his service and support as Chair of the SA Water Board for the past four years. I wish him well in his future endeavours. I extend a warm welcome to

Allan Holmes, our incoming Chair, whose invaluable experience will be instrumental in our continued delivery of trusted water services for a sustainable and healthy South Australia.

David Ryan
Chief Executive

  • 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