Spate of water meter thefts
Fifteen homes and businesses have been left without water due to a spate of water meter thefts around Warragul.
“It’s becoming a real problem,” said Mr Paul Clark, General Manager Customer Service and Communications at Gippsland Water. “In Warragul alone, about 15 water meters were stolen in the past six to 12 months, presumably for scrap metal.”
“It is an inconvenience to householders and commercial businesses because it means they are without water until a replacement meter can be installed.”
The cost of the replacing the meter is born by Gippsland Water. “It costs us up to $700 to replace each water meter, so it’s not a cheap exercise,” Mr Clark explained.
It can be expensive for property owners too. In many cases, the back flow prevention devices that many commercial properties require have been stolen. These can cost up to $2000 to replace and are owned and maintained by the property owner themselves.
Meters are generally replaced the next day. However it can take some time for organisations to source a replacement back flow prevention device. In these cases, Gippsland Water can put in a temporary fix which allows water flow to be restored.
Mr Clark said while residents needed to keep their meters accessible so officers could carry out readings, lockable cages could be installed to protect them from being stolen.
Gippsland Water reports all thefts to the local police. Anyone witnessing suspect activities should contact police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
If residents notice that they have had their meter stolen or damaged, they should contact Gippsland Water immediately on 1800 050 500.
All media enquiries:
Please contact the Communications and Engagement Manager on (03) 5177 4793 or 0448 905 833