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“Opponents of Tillegra Dam have argued all along that Hunter Water is cooking the water books to justify Tillegra Dam,” TEC Water Campaigner, Mr Leigh Martin, said. “The IPART report has confirmed our suspicions.”

IPART commissioned consultants to review the forecast demand for water used by Hunter Water to justify Tillegra Dam.

The findings published in IPART’s draft report on Hunter Water prices reveal that Hunter Water’s forecasts are not based on statistical analysis. Nor do they fully consider the effect of water conservation programs and planned price increases in reducing demand. Most seriously, Hunter Water has failed to include previously announced water conservation initiatives in their calculations, raising fears that they intend to abandon these measures.

“Not only have Hunter Water been caught trying to exaggerate demand but it is clear that they are planning to abandon water conservation if Tillegra Dam goes ahead. This is a scandalous attempt to hoodwink the public into accepting a massively expensive and environmentally damaging dam they simply don’t need,” Mr Martin said.

Submissions on proposed price increases that would raise the cost of an average customers water bill by $220 per year close today. TEC has told IPART that it should scrap any allowance for recovering the costs of Tillegra Dam.

“Hunter Water customers are facing a massive blow-out in the cost of their water bills. Coupled with recently announced increases to electricity bills this will have a major impact on families and vulnerable customers.

“With Tillegra Dam exposed as an unnecessary waste of money there is no justification in forcing customers to pay,” Mr Martin said.