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Everything you need to know about locating our pipelines and other infrastructure before you start work.

Before you start work, you must check if there are any of our assets nearby – such as water, sewerage or drainage pipelines.

Before You Dig Australia

You can determine the approximate location of our assets by accessing free plans from Before You Dig Australia (BYDA). 

Other ways to locate pipelines

If you have located assets near your proposed work, you'll need detailed information on their location before you apply for our approval to work near them.

In addition to using BYDA plans to locate our pipelines, a number of other methods are outlined here:

The technique for locating buried pipes by careful hand digging trial holes or using other 'soft dig' techniques, such as vacuum excavation. The use of mechanical excavation equipment is not allowed without a Clearance to Work Permit.

Potholing is the only way of determining pipeline location with certainty and is used in addition to BYDA or other locating methods.


  • Must be undertaken with reference to BYDA plans and other information we provide – the amount of potholing will depend on the size of you work area, density of assets in your work area and risk of potential damage associated with your work.
  • Where the installation of a service, whether by open excavation or trenchless methods, crosses a pipeline each crossing point must be potholed.
  • For trenchless excavations, the pothole must extend deep enough to visually see the boring tool just prior to going over or underneath the pipeline. Minimum clearances must be observed.
  • For excavations parallel to a pipeline, pothole at 5m intervals to verify location as alignments can vary.
  • Potholes must be backfilled once the work has been completed – clean bedding material should be used for the first 300mm above the exposed asset.

The location of all potholed assets is to be surveyed by a qualified surveyor: 

  • Survey coordinates are to be MGA94 standard
  • Survey levels are to be to the Australian Height Datum (AHD)
  • You should also survey any surface indicators (see below)

  • Electronic detection technology may be used in combination with potholing to positively verify assets.
  • Metallic and reinforced concrete assets which contain steel, may be detected with electronic detection technology, however non-metallic assets cannot be detected by this method.
  • Pipe material may also change over distance, sometimes changing from metallic to non-metallic material and back again.

A physical inspection of the site where the works are proposed will allow you to assess the working environment and identify any surface indicators of underground assets.

There are a number of surface indicators which may point to the location of buried Water Corporation assets, including:

  • Cathodic protection test points
  • Electrical equipment such as cabinets
  • Access covers to sewer and drain maintenance structures
  • Valve covers
  • Water hydrants
  • Sampling points
  • Inspection covers
  • Signs, markers, tags

You can engage independent location services to undertake potholing and electronic detection work for you. You can find location services in the Yellow Pages, listed under Underground Service Locators.

More information

More information about locating our pipelines can be found in Section 4 of our guidelines.

To locate assets onsite we will usually need 5 days notice to schedule a site visit (please note that charges apply for this service).

For more information or to arrange a site visit, please call us on 13 13 75.