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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 06 Hansard (Monday, 11 May 2009) . . Page.. 2199 ..

Not all reports can be followed up on. Public reports made anonymously prevent the Water Conservation Office from confirming details for accuracy or gathering relevant further information. Often properties are reported on numerous times, which can be as a result of different members of the public observing the same breach.

(3) The various steps ACTEW’s authorised officers take in following up on a report vary depending on the context, but include:

• A letter reminding the occupant of the current water restrictions;

• Verbal contact to ensure an understanding of current water restrictions;

• Targeted and random patrolling;

• Attending a property and speaking to the occupant and/or taking necessary actions to end the breach.

• Issuing a formal notice (direction to comply) to the occupier of a property at which a breach or evidence of a breach has been witnessed.

• Issuing an infringement notice to the occupier of a property at which a breach or evidence of a breach has been witnessed.

• Court action if an infringement is not paid or if multiple offences occur.

(4) There are five electronic roadside signs on main arterial roads throughout the ACT, located on: Barry Drive, Barton Highway, Tuggeranong Parkway, Monaro Highway and Adelaide Avenue

(5) The signs cost ACTEW approximately $8000 per month to hire. This charge includes all maintenance and daily message updates.

(6) Public feedback received by ACTEW has generally been positive.

Research carried out on behalf of ACTEW shows that, of the approximate 90% of respondents who recall seeing the signs, 80% find them at least occasionally useful (32% always useful, 25% useful most of the time, 23% occasionally useful) as a tool for receiving information about our water situation.

(7) Canberra has reduced its water use by about 35% during the Stage 3 Water Restrictions. ACTEW regards the combination of enforcement and strong public awareness and behavioural change programs as the biggest contributing factor to the community having achieved these savings.

ACTEW uses the signs as an awareness-raising tool, which falls part of the much broader campaign ‘Save water for life’. ‘Save water for life’ contains both awareness-raising activities, such as advertising, as well as behavioural change tactics such as bathroom prompts, water usage calculators and water wise gardening workshops.

ACTEW has measured the signs’ effectiveness in terms of awareness – and for this it proves to be a very effective initiative with approximately 90% of respondents having seen the signs. Of these, 45% have reported the signs having a direct impact on their water use behaviours.

Any research results on the community’s awareness of dam levels, levels of restrictions and water consumption cannot alone be contributed to the electronic roadside signs, as ACTEW uses a number of channels to disseminate this information.

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