Discovery Drive residents concerned about low town water pressure are ‘stuck with it’ unless they install booster pumps themselves, says council.
Yass Valley Council investigated the elevated areas of the street after councillors received complaints about low pressure and low flow in the newly-developed dress circle location last December.
In a report tabled at its June 27 meeting, council heard there was no cost effective solution to resolve the problem, as the homes were built at similar elevation to the water treatment plant.
It would cost $2 million to elevate the reservoir, which would fix the problem, but that would advantage only a small number of properties.
The street’s water is supplied from reservoirs at the Water Treatment Plant on nearby Cooks Hill Road, with very little elevation difference between the reservoir and blocks at the upper end of the street.
Measurements were taken during peak hours on five hot summer days at the front garden taps at eight locations. A 24-hour pressure monitoring system was also installed at one of the homes to monitor pressure readings.
Council provides a minimum level of service of 12 metres water head (120 kPa) at the supply point, with a minimum flow rate of 12 litres per minute. This was similar to other shires.
The investigation showed Lots 24 and 25 had water pressure close to council’s minimum pressure of 120kPa. But a reading of 118kPa taken on February 16 was considered abnormal because it coincided with water releases from the dam wall raising project, when the raw water pump to the treatment plant was not operating.
There was an option for individual residences to provide their own boosting arrangements by installing a holding tank (to hold about 2,000 litres) and a booster pump themselves. This arrangement had been implemented for properties in Archer Close, Yass, due to its proximity to the water treatment plant.
Councillor Judith Williams said the report confirmed what she had been told by residents in the area.
“While these people are stuck with it now, I don’t want it to happen in the future,” she said. She would like to see standards put on development applications to ensure there was enough pressure to supply a “modern household”.
“I really feel this should be prevented from happening again.”
Council’s general manager David Rowe said council now had a lot more data at its disposal that wasn’t available at the time of the development. He said different circumstances would impact on the pressure, such as a house positioned up-hill from the meter or connection to a double story house. The report found peak periods of demand and household internal plumbing restrictions could also cause drops in pressure and flow.
Council’s director of operations Simon Cassidy said people’s interpretation of adequate water pressure was subjective.
Councillor David Needham asked whether council was able to reimburse or assist householders who had been affected or forced to purchase booster pumps. Mr Rowe said limited rebate/assistance options for eligible households would be considered in a follow-up report. Council resolved to further investigate water pressure and develop a policy for it.