The West

Go-ahead for tap pressure cut
Pressure drop: Water pressure will be cut in some suburbs. Picture: Supplied

Water pressure to thousands of Perth homes will be cut as part of a $120 million plan to reduce bursts and leaks in the Water Corporation's ageing pipe network over the next 20 years.

Water Minister Mia Davies will announce today the Government is expanding the water pressure reduction scheme and Beckenham, in Perth's south-east, is "next cab off the rank".

The move come after a trial between 2007 and 2009 in which water pressure was cut to hundreds of households in the southern Perth suburbs of Shelley, Rossmoyne and Waterford.

That trial found average consumption fell 10 per cent as a result of reduced water pressure, though almost half of respondents to a questionnaire complained about the side effects.

Most gripes related to the way lower water pressure affected sprinkler systems, while others were linked to its effects on shower pressure and how washing machines took longer to fill.

In a nod to those complaints, Ms Davies said Water Corp would spend the next six months consulting people in Beckenham about the measure before implementing it.

She also said pressure levels would be lowered gradually rather than overnight to minimise effects on customers and ensure they had enough time to adjust.

Eventually water pressure would be almost halved, though Ms Davies stressed it would still be more than double the minimum required.

"They (Beckenham) have got quite high water pressure and there have been a high number of leaks and bursts and complaints," Ms Davies said.

"Essentially, the Water Corp has had to do a lot of work there.

"So bringing it down . . . reduces your leaks and bursts but also reduces your interruptions for when the Water Corp has to go in and repair the pipes." Longer term, Ms Davies said the Water Corporation intended to reduce pressure in most low- lying Perth suburbs near the Swan and Canning rivers.

She said this was because those suburbs typically had the highest water pressure levels, which led to the network deteriorating faster.

Ms Davies said the program would eventually save 10 billion litres of drinking water a year.

The West Australian

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