Theft of water meters has been a problem on some Perth housing sites. Some sources suggests that the number of thefts has more than doubled in recent years to around 700 incidents per annum. At $200 per meter, this adds up to $140,000 per annum.
Whether these meters are stolen for scrap metal or other reasons such as “ghosting” (substitution of meters to save on water bills) is unknown. Whatever the reason, the problem is growing and the Water Corporation’s current policy of simply charging the builder the additional cost of a replacement meter does nothing to address the underlying causes and how the problem might be reduced or eliminated.
Under most standard building contracts the builder pays all statutory fees associated with water connection. In addition the Metropolitan Water Supply, Sewerage and Draining By-laws clearly state that the builder shall be responsible for the protection and maintenance of the water meter until practical completion occurs.
It may be the case that builders include water meters and Water Corporation charges as a provisional sum item in your building contract. This is a legitimate course of action which entitles a builder to seek reimbursement of the cost of a water meter, and any subsequent replacement, from a client.