Feb 08

Is there an infrastructure crisis in Eastern Sydney at a time when local Randwick Council is being pushed by Planning NSW to accept greater residential densities? – 8th February 2018

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The comments below are by Randwick Council Greens Councillor Murray Matson.

Another long water cut off by WaterNSW in Oberon Street Randwick that started 11am yesterday has now left residents with out water for over 24 hours.

There is currently a water supply crisis in Cape Town but there is not supposed to be one in Sydney.

I found it distressing today when an elderly resident rang me to report that parts of Oberon Street and Perouse Road in Randwick had been cut off from water since 11am yesterday. I personally know that this is the second time in the last year that water has been cut off for extended periods of time. We are not talking hours. We are talking days. The residents tell mes that there have actually been four occasions. She told that this time she was letting neighbours have access to her water tank. By the time she rang me late this morning locals had been without running water for 24 hours and were receiving no advice from WaterNSW as to when supply would be back on. “People are starting to smell” she said a short time ago.

Surely in a modern urban environment residents who are disabled or trapped at home through caring responsibilities should be guaranteed access to drinking and washing water? I am amazed that there has apparently been no letter boxing by WaterNSW on how residents are expected to deal with the situation. I contacted Council staff but they have been unable to get any action from the service.

Sometime this afternoon WaterNSW had partially restored a trickle flow of water but then cut it off again. At around 5pm someone from the utility knocked on my resident’s door tell her that they were hoping to have it restored by 10pm tonight. When I visited the street a few minutes ago I witnessed one resident being handed bottles of water by the repair crew. I saw another box of bottles sitting on a low boundary fence in front of block of flats. So some attempt is being made by WaternNSW to relieve stress.

I will put a motion to Council that we call on WaterNSW to guarantee that no urban household in need will be deprived of water for more than eight hours without being offered at least free and organised deliveries of container water.

But it’s abundantly clear that the real issue is the ageing of the water supply infrastructure in eastern Sydney at a time when the NSW Government is intending increasing residential densities above what Randwick Council thinks it can reasonably accept.

WaterNSW today told my constituent that they are just repairing rather than replacing the 100 year old plus pipes in Oberon Street and she is expecting further breakdowns in the future. Is our basic infrastructure is in crisis? I have to ask whether Oberon Street is an isolated problem or just the emerging tip of what may become a much greater reality. We may see more mini Cape Town’s in our suburbs.

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