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Rivers and reservoirs

Rainfall, rivers, reservoirs and aquifers do more than just provide drinking water, sustain agriculture and industry, and support recreation, tourism and cultural opportunities. They are also valuable environmental assets that support critical plant and animal ecosystems.

Low rainfall means South Australia’s ability to capture water has been limited in recent years. We currently rely on the River Murray for most of our water.

Water for Good outlines ways we can create water and better use the water that we do have. We’re drawing less water from the River Murray now that our major desalination plant is producing water.

And Water for Good shows ways we can recycle stormwater and wastewater to take even further pressure off the Murray and other rain-dependent sources of water.


Some 17 reservoirs located throughout the Mount Lofty Ranges catchment area act as storage facilities for a number of water supply distribution systems to metropolitan Adelaide and beyond.

At full capacity they hold about 200,000 megalitres of water (or a little less than one year’s supply for metropolitan Adelaide).

Storage capacity relies heavily on rainfall in the Mount Lofty catchment and water that has been pumped from the River Murray to supplement Adelaide’s water supply.

Country South Australians get their water via one of the large pipelines from the River Murray, from small rural reservoirs or from local dams and ground water bores.

For more information about South Australia’s reservoirs - and the Hume and Dartmouth reservoirs in Victoria that play a vital role in maintaining flows to South Australia, visit the SA Water website.

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