The ACTEW Water logo.









ACTEW Water.jpg

The ACTEW Water logo. ACTEW Water.jpg

The cost of changing Actew to Actew Water has been put at $2.5 million but the government-owned corporation expects to recoup the money from savings within a year.

Actew Water managing director Mark Sullivan said the costs included sending 150,000 letters to Canberra households this week informing them of the change.

But the big administrative costs were transferring employees and offering them new positions, renegotiating contracts with suppliers and legal fees.

Trucks will be rebranded and uniforms rebadged as they need to be replaced.

About 335 staff have transferred from ActewAGL to Actew Water.

The change comes as Mr Sullivan expects water prices in Canberra to rise but water restrictions to become almost a thing of the past due to new water security measures including the $405 million Enlarged Cotter Dam, which is expected to start taking water in September. The dam wall is due to be finished by Christmas and the entire project finished by Easter.

ActewAGL has managed Canberra's water and sewerage network by agreement with Actew Corporation (Actew) since 2000.

On July 1, Actew assumed direct responsibility for the management and operation of its water and sewerage network to be known as Actew Water.

At least one wag has pointed out that when the acronym of Actew is spelt out, the name of the new organisation becomes Australian Capital Territory Electricity and Water Water. Mr Sullivan said he had ''heard the wags'' but was unconcerned.

''Actew is just a word for us, it's not an acronym any more,'' he said.

Mr Sullivan said it made sense for Actew Water to not only own the assets but operate the water and sewerage networks.

He said under the previous agreement, Actew had to pay ActewAGL a 3 per cent margin on its capital works.

That margin was no longer in place, meaning Actew Water would within a year recoup the $2.5 million cost of the changeover.

Mr Sullivan said Actew Water, as a territory-owned corporation, could concentrate on keeping a lid on price pressures, which would still be difficult.

The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission is due by the end of the year to deliver a draft decision on water prices for the ACT for the next five years, the new prices to take effect from July 1, 2013.

Mr Sullivan said Actew Water had put in its submission to the commission in the past few days and the increased costs of the Enlarged Cotter Dam had been covered in that submission.

He had ''no doubts'' the cost of water would rise in the ACT.

The Murrumbidgee to Googong Water Transfer or pipeline was due to open next month and, with the Enlarged Cotter Dam, Canberrans would still have permanent water conservation measures, such as being asked to use sprinklers at night. But water restrictions such as bans on outside watering, washing of cars or filling of pools would probably skip a generation.

''We won't have water restrictions in Canberra for the next 20 to 30 years,'' Mr Sullivan said. ''We've got full dams and all the water security projects are about to be completed or completed.''