Hobart Water Meter Rollout Hits Trouble


Tasmania’s controversial water meter rollout has been less than smooth with complaints of faulty meters and damaged gardens and is behind schedule.

Hobart’s Mercury newspaper reported on Saturday that only 9000 of the scheduled 24,000 have been installed and faces a cost blow out of the $54 million water meter rollout budget. There are reports that installers have not been properly trained to do the installation work and remedial work is required after some have been installed backwards and some meters are extremely noisy.

Mark Dick of Bellerive reported in the Mercury that his meter made a loud knocking noise at night. He was told by Southern Water to turn off the water at the mains each night and turn it back on again in the morning. Mr Dick said he was told three weeks ago that it would be fixed in two weeks and he is still waiting and still has to turn off the main tap each night.

These problems will add more costs to the $54 million budgeted for the rollout and will have to be passed on to consumers. Water meters in the Hobart metropolitan area are a complete waste of money that could be better spent on improving infrastructure in regional areas that do not have town water or that have very poor water quality.

Hobart is an oasis with more fresh water coming down the Derwent River each day than the City could ever hope to use. There is also water piped down from lake Fenton. The Lake Fenton pipleline was constructed during the depression. The day the Derwent River dries up is the day the world is in very big trouble. The main problem with our water supply is the lack of infrastructure to hold the water. There are 3 main dams in the Hobart area, Risdon Brook, Talosa Park and Waterworks reserve. The problem of running out of water is because during summer more water runs out of the dams that is pumped in from the Derwent. By introducing water restrictions early on before dam levels get too low so that the water rate going out equals what is going in is all that is required.

As people become more educated about water use it is being used more wisely. We have not even needed any water restrictions in the last several years even though we were in severe drought.

There can only be one conclusion reached from this unnecessary cost that will be passed on to consumers and that is the Government have plans to privatise out water and sell it off. This way with the meters installed the new water company will have a way of quantifiying the water use for billing purposes.