Welcome to Unitcare

Maintenance: Plumbing – Water Supply

In this chapter we explain some plumbing terms in relation to water supply, along with associated common problems. We also look at preventative maintenance.

Legislation – Strata Titles Act

Click on Legislation above, to view community title legislation and hints.

Legislation – Community Titles Act

Click on Legislation above, to view community title legislation and hints.

The Corporation is responsible for

  • water pipes until they only serve a single unit as illustrated below.

The pipes shown in red are the owner’s responsibility to maintain.

Plumbing for a your group consists of two distinct systems: supply (bringing fresh water in) and drainage, taking wastewater out. The pipes in black are drains. The vent pipes allow the drains to breathe consequently preventing siphoning of trap water such as in toilets.

The diagram below illustrates the plumbing in a typical bathroom.


The common water supply meter is usually located just inside the property boundary. The photograph below shows a typical installation. Sometimes the meter is under a metal cover in the pavement on the street.

Some groups have an SA Water meter for each unit. The photograph below shows a typical installation.

Some groups have a private water meter for each unit. The photograph below shows an in ground meter serving one unit.

Common Problems

  • Old galvanised pipe leaking underground
  • Toilets running continuously

The following pictures illustrate some of the common problems with the water supply, putting the buildings at risk and wasting valuable water.

The above photographs illustrate the problem of rusting galvanised water pipe.

A leaking pipe can lead to soil heave or subsidence, resulting in substantial movement in the buildings, along with excess water charges.


Check your Corporation’s water use bill for any jumps in water consumption. Contact SA Water if you need help. SA Water website

Best Practice

Have a licenced plumber check for leaks and galvanised pipe.

Ensure that all galvanised water pipes are replaced as soon as possible.

Private water meters

Whilst many new groups have a meter for each unit the vast majority have one water meter.

Since 1995 the SA Government has been charging all unit groups for every drop of water used. This replaced the allowance system in which most Corporations paid no water use bill at all.

The new system gives unit groups a choice (SA Water Form) of either having the Corporation pay the bill or dividing it amongst the owners and billing them directly.

With a substantial rise in the cost of water some groups see the user pays system as more equitable, and are installing private water meters for each unit. The photo below shows such an installation.

Private water meter reading

Once meters are installed they need to be read. A trusted member of your group could do this or you could employ a professional meter reader. The reading needs to be done at the time the SA Water bill is received. The


Water meters can “under read” over time. This is especially true of cheaper private meters. Keep an eye on the difference between the SA Water bill and the sum of all the private water meter readings, along with any significant drops in unit household consumption.

Best Practice

For meter reading and billing have a professional meter reader undertake the work and bill owners directly.


The following tools may assist in the maintenance of your water supply.

What to do in the case of a broken pipe

Click on picture for printable version

Private Water Meters

Water billing arrangement form

Click on picture for printable version