Fears pressure trial at residents’ expense

The flooded driveway of a St James home after a water pipe burst.
The flooded driveway of a St James home after a water pipe burst.

Andrew Carville, whose wife was initially unable to use the driveway to go out to buy water, said it was only a matter of time before the reduced pressure was no longer sufficient to cater for subdivisions and infill housing.

Water Minister Mia Davies recently announced a $120 million pressure management program to reduce leaks and breaks in the pipe networks, expected to save 10 billion litres of water each year.

Trials were successful in Rossmoyne, Shelley and Waterford between 2008 and 2010, and under the new program the first area to be targeted this year will be Beckenham.

Other suburbs would follow in coming years.

‘I think it’s a band-aid approach that doesn’t address the actual problem. A lot of the water infrastructure in established areas is well past its intended use-by date,’ Mr Carville said.

‘If you look at previous pressure-reducing trials, they have noted a reduction in overall water usage, which is a good thing.

‘But there have been plenty of problems faced by residents, such as older hot water systems no longer working due to the reduced flow, or reticulation systems that no longer cover garden areas.

‘The water reduction test might help the problem, but it is at the expense of residents.

Ms Davies said the corporation would work closely with its customers in Beckenham through a community consultation team to work through any potential impact of a reduction in water pressure.

Investigations and community consultation is expected to take six months, with gradual staged reductions in water pressure starting later this year.