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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 17 March 2005 2005) . . Page.. 1259 ..


Changing the standards requires more than a change to legislation. Material change would involve major reconstruction of the water network, at very high cost to the community.

The pressure at a particular house is an intrinsic part of the design of the network, and is based on street pipework sizes and the height difference between the particular house in question and the local water reservoir. ActewAGL’s monitoring, over many years, shows no design flaw in the network that leads to “whole of suburb” type problems.

No suburbs have been found to have inadequate water pressure in any of the last three years other than when unprecedented demand existed during the January 2003 bushfires. Individual houses, or localised areas, do, from time to time, have pressure problems. These are generally caused by a problem inside the property boundary, or in the pipe connecting the property to the ACTEW main. These problems are usually repaired within days of the complaint being phoned into the ActewAGL faults and Emergency Centre.

Sometimes individual households complain about inadequate pressure however, the pressure is higher than the design limits established by the Code.

Pressure lower than the design limits established by the Code can also be caused by extraordinary events outside the control of ActewAGL: (eg burst watermains or abnormal events). Burst water mains are usually repaired within hours of the complaint being phoned into the ActewAGL Faults and Emergency Centre.

There are several streets in Canberra, or parts of streets, where residents have complained that the peak hour pressure (on hot summer evenings, when there are no water restrictions) is less than they require. However, testing shows the pressures do meet the Code standards.

There is one current case of a low-pressure problem due to the release of land above the usual contour levels.

There are no suburbs listed in (2) above.

All faults related to localised blockages or faults that are the responsibility of the water utility are rectified within codified response times.

The single case where pressure is lower than the design limits established by the Code, caused by the release of land above the usual contour levels, is currently being investigated by ActewAGL and ACTEW Corporation through the Chief Minister’s Department.

The network is designed to industry practice to provide fire fighting capacity as agreed with the ACT Fire Brigade. The bushfire of January 2003 was an abnormal event beyond the network’s designed capability. There is no known network in the world that can maintain adequate water pressure across a large urban area when virtually every residence is using maximum amounts of water – nor would it be practicable to construct one.



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