TasWater to fix biggest issues
TasWater has pledged to remove all permanent “boil water” and “do not consume” alerts across the state.
The local government-owned water corporation says it will fix water quality issues in 24 Tasmanian towns within two years as part of an overhaul of its 10-year spending plan.
The reformed plan will carry a new cost of $1.5 billion, increasing its capital spend while also expanding its debt up to $900 million.
TasWater chair Miles Hampton says work has started already, but will not bring extra costs for ratepayers.
“We're well advanced for about half of the townships, but we will now be ramping up the works with the other townships,” Mr Hampton said.
“The additional savings we're targeting through the business, and with reduced dividends to our owners, we are not forecasting to increase tariffs any more than we have already planned or in our 10-year plan.”
TasWater’s owners, the state’s 29 councils, recently agreed to freeze dividends to boost TasWater's bottom line.
Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein has issued a stern warning to councils not to pass on the costs to ratepayers, and has even hinted at taking ownership of TasWater to make sure it doesn't happen.
The Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) applauded the move to fix water quality issues, but called for more federal support for TasWater's infrastructure plan.
“TasWater must be commended for coming up with a plan to fix these problems when their first priority is to fix the boiled water alerts that we have throughout Tasmania,” David Downie from LGAT said.
“We would still hope the State Government will show leadership in presenting our case to the Federal Government and hopefully these funds will return.
“Bear in mind that other states are still including funds to help them improve their water and sewerage assets,” he said.
TasWater has also reported on repair costs from recent flooding, which are expected to hit $25 million.
Tasmania’s north and north-west were affected by heavy flooding in June and July this year.
TasWater chief Mike Brewster said despite the damage, the organisation's had dealt with the situation well.
“Our planning and rapid response in the face of heavy rain and rising river levels meant that the potential impact on our customers and the environment was minimal,” Mr Brewster said.
“This has been the most significant incident faced by TasWater since we formed as Tasmania's statewide water and sewerage provider and the fact we were able to work around the clock to minimise service interruptions was pleasing.”
The following is a list of the major damages and interruptions:
- Latrobe water main burst, water inundated reticulation system
- Two Launceston water treatment plants damaged
- Main supply line to Derby was washed away
- Multiple pump stations and treatment plants shut down
- Hobler's Bridge and Norwood sewage treatment plants were completely inundated
- Dams at Burnie, Devonport and Swansea affected
- Repairs needed to Burnie's Pet Dam spillway
- Three shellfish areas were affected by overflows but impact minimised