Picture: The Advertiser
Adelaide has had pop-up shops, pop-up restaurants, and now we have our own city-wide installation of pop-up fountains, courtesy of SA Water. Hundreds of them in fact, activating our streets with flying rubble and cool, refreshing water every year.

And the best part is, you never know when you'll get to see one! Maybe one will appear at your bus stop in the morning and prevent you from getting to work! Maybe it'll happen outside your house overnight and flood your master bedroom! Maybe you'll be walking down the street one day and a pop-up fountain will surprise you by shooting you up into the air with large slabs of pavement!

It's all so exciting! Much better than boring old regular fountains, which don't even damage property or threaten to kill you. Take that, Rome.

Surely with five burst water mains in the last nine days and dozens since January, we're at the stage where we can officially consider "The Burst Water Main State" for our license plates?

Imagine the slogans SA Tourism could come up with: "Adelaide: You won't stop gushing over us!" or "SA: We're fit to bursting with top attractions!".

Meanwhile Adelaide's sister city in New Zealand is Christchurch, but I reckon there's a fresh case for changing it to Rotorua. The way we're going, we'll have more geysers than they do by the end of the financial year.

Up until yesterday, SA Water maintained our "burst rate" was one of the best in the country. (Actually, up until yesterday that may have been the only thing they were maintaining, given old pipes kept exploding all over town, but I digress.)

Yesterday The Advertiser revealed SA Water had cherry-picked this single positive statistic from an independent report, ignoring the other parts that showed it was the worst major utility in the nation for fixing faults and the second-worst for litres lost per customer due to pipe failure.

Colour me unsurprised. Because specious reasoning though it may be, when a person encounters three burst water mains in the space of two days, it's difficult to convince them that there isn't a problem.

On Wednesday I had to attend a meeting at Adelaide Town Hall, and was greeted by crews cleaning up a burst water main next door, on Pirie St.

Three hours later I went to a cafe in Hyde Park, where crowds of people were trooping in and out of the toilets.

"Sorry about that, we're the only ones in the neighbourhood with a flushing loo today," the owner told me, pointing out the SA Water crews working on a burst a block down the road.

The next morning I awoke to a text message from my dad: "Have you got running water? Burst water main near your place".

I'm beginning to think it's me.

Last week I even had to reschedule a meeting with a colleague because a water main had burst outside his front door in the night, flooding not only his floors but his ceiling as the geyser rained down on his house, smashing through the roof. The poor sod is now holed up in a serviced apartment for god knows how long while repairs are done.

Perhaps an invisible main has burst quietly under my house; that would explain why my bill for a household of two people with virtually no garden is costing me almost $2000 a year.

You have to hand it to SA Water: not only are our water bills some of the highest in the nation, but now so is our actual water - anywhere from six to 20 metres.


First published in The Advertiser on May 14, 2016. CLICK HERE to view the original article.