Water bills fall for first time in five years

Weather bureau says higher rainfall has led to lower water prices.

Water bills take a dive

For the first time since 2012, the price of household water and sewerage bills has fallen, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has revealed.

The latest National Performance Report for urban utilities also stated that:

  • the median cost of residential water bills fell by $32 last year, compared with the previous 12 months
  • the median cost of supplying water to all properties fell from $940 in 2015–16, to $892 in 2016–17, representing a five per cent drop
  • the amount of recycled water used nationally fell by six per cent, due to above average levels of rainfall
  • the median volume of water supplied to residential customers remained consistent with previous years.


The report compares the performance of 84 water utilities across the mainland and analyses trends.

“Sixty per cent of water utilities reported a decrease in their typical residential bill in 2016–17,” according to Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) Executive Director Adam Lovell.

“The reduction is a result of efforts by water utilities to drive greater efficiencies, as shown in the five per cent reduction in operating costs. Water utilities continue to seek opportunities for innovation and efficiencies to improve benefits to customers.”

The report, which is in its 12th year, is prepared by the BOM, WSAA and all state and territory governments, other than Tasmania.

It was found that there was a 17 per cent drop in water supplied to South Australians because of above average rainfall that reduced demand for surface and desalinated water.

On a national basis, three per cent more water was delivered to properties. Combined, Melbourne’s commercial and residential customers were the thirstiest, increasing demand by seven per cent. Melburnians recorded the second highest rise in complaints, or 31 per cent more than the previous year.

Sydney residents were the most satisfied, logging 19 per cent fewer complaints than previously. Canberrans recorded 13 per cent more problems, Darwin residents one per cent more and Perth complaints remained steady.

South East Queenslanders’ complaints went up nine per cent, perhaps because the region experienced 13 per cent more unplanned water supply interruptions – the highest number of all regions.

In Western Australia, Water Corporation Perth 'banked' 8531 megalitres of desalinated water into storage.

Adelaide residents enjoyed the biggest decrease in water bills at 16 per cent, followed by Sydneysiders, who paid 9 per cent less. Households in Darwin (-6 per cent) and Melbourne (-4 per cent), had the next biggest savings, while water bills for those living in South East Queensland, Perth and Canberra remained stable.

Did you notice you paid less for water last year than previously? Were there any reasons to complain to your water company?

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    COMMENTS

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    Knight Templar
    12th Mar 2018
    10:40am
    I agree that the water bills for South East Queensland may have remained stable. However, the bulk of the bill is for "fixed charges" while the actual water consumption is only a small percentage of the overall cost. Hypothetically, using no water at all over the 3 month billing period would merely result in a small reduction in charges. Nevertheless, I accept that infrastructure maintenance and renewal is essential.
    margie
    12th Mar 2018
    10:56am
    What rubbish, my bills have increased and quite a bit. There are three people living in the home and yet the water bill claims we use enough water for five people. I have a tank to water the garden, we shower once a day and we drink water up to five or six glasses each, I use a dishwasher which supposedly uses less water and we wash clothes three to five times a week. I can't see where we can cut down unless we return to the old days of a bath or shower once a week and a wash each day, welcome to the third world country that was once the land of plenty. Now there is still plenty but only for those with very deep pockets.
    *Loloften*
    14th Mar 2018
    3:47am
    Agree Margie....load of bs as usual. Mine have also increased significantly altho' don't water garden anymore, do "top & tail" every 2nd day instead of shower & use washing machine on soak, short wash cycle.
    Rosret
    12th Mar 2018
    11:10am
    So how is Bom.gov linked to our water rates?
    The majority of my bill is fixed cost so cutting down on water makes virtually no difference. Perhaps they are getting their tally from dam levels. In which case evaporation, humidity, fixing leaks in the mains water supply, tariffs on water usage in the river systems etc etc.
    The article needs to include how they derived these figures and why/if they have access to our water bills.
    Rosret
    12th Mar 2018
    11:13am
    The only real significant change in water usage through the mains would be from big business. So if industries are shutting down production this may actually not be a good thing.
    *Loloften*
    14th Mar 2018
    3:57am
    So true Rosret.....dissection of all utilities is non existent. AGL has 4 different elec usage costs, all called "Peak." They do not state what are those 4 peak times so users could perhaps use less during the most costly times. We're all being ripped off big time since our essential services were privatised.
    Alky
    12th Mar 2018
    11:15am
    I'm in Tasmania and I note that Taswater chose not to participate in the study again.
    My actual water usage for 3 months was $37.75, so just over $12 per month. That I can cope with. But the $240 in fixed charges is ridiculous. I live by myself and I try to conserve water wherever I can. The washing machine does only two small loads per week, I have a shower daily. I use the dishwasher once a week, so I'm not extravagant with water. I do get the pensioner discount of $47 but it's still a chunk of money to fork out every three months.
    Thoughtful
    12th Mar 2018
    2:47pm
    Yes - good reason Tassie isn't included. We only have Taswater - not even sure who runs it atm. Same with electricity - one supplier, government owned. Have I noticed any difference to water rates? Nope.
    downunder
    12th Mar 2018
    4:22pm
    Preserving water in Tassie? what for? The water is only about 15% of the bill and the rest is fixed cost. It is a shamble
    MICK
    12th Mar 2018
    5:57pm
    Another reason to move to Tassie.
    Hasbeen
    12th Mar 2018
    12:19pm
    People should try living in the country, off water grid, before they bitch.

    In the last 3 years I have replaced 3 water tanks, $6000.
    Two pressure household supply pumps, $700.
    Two grey water pump out pumps, $400.
    And an expensive dig up & replace a drain full of tree roots, $4500.

    I also had to replace the garden water pump, but at only $240, but not a household expense really.

    This is only a little above average cost of supplying my own water, & disposing of my waste water.

    Of course you could be like a mate of mine, growing irrigated Lucerne. His access charge for the irrigation scheme is $22000 a year, plus water cost. For 2 years the Queensland government took the water from the irrigation dam the farmers were paying for, & used it to supply cooling water for power generation. The farmers got no water, not a drop, but still had to pay the $22,000 access charge. A bit more to complain about than Alky I believe.
    margie
    12th Mar 2018
    12:54pm
    Hasbeen you are correct and it's a disgrace, but I have to say that if I'd been forced to pay your costs I would not be able to do so. I'm on the elderly pension and Alky sounds as though this may be the case as well. We all do the best we can with what we've got and you can't compare apples with oranges. Having said that I believe the farmers are treated appallingly by our government.
    TREBOR
    12th Mar 2018
    12:57pm
    Yeah - but a new tank should last you twenty years... so ifyou divide it.

    I've come FROM tank water to town and I prefer tank infinitely over town, for both quality and cost. Tank water makes the best home brew.
    TREBOR
    12th Mar 2018
    12:58pm
    I agree about that charge of $22k etc - disgusting... insolence of office... I'll take but there's no give in it for you, peasant!
    Hasbeen
    12th Mar 2018
    5:49pm
    Yes Trebor, it does amortize, but as my large cement tank has developed a crack, I've got about $8/10,000 coming up some time soon. I've had a quote of only $3,000 for a vinyl liner for it, but am not too sure it is a long term fix. Meanwhile I stick cement poultice patches on it to buy time.

    I find supplying my own water expensive, but at least I don't have the indignity of not being supplied what I have paid for.
    MICK
    12th Mar 2018
    6:01pm
    Sounds like a beat up Hasbeen.
    Trebor correctly states that tanks are a long term asset and tank water ends up much cheaper than paying governments for what you don't use.
    I guess you will now be abandoning your right wing governments given they are using farmers' water in the coal burning industry??? Maybe not.
    TREBOR
    12th Mar 2018
    7:52pm
    Ouch - I think my original concrete tank from the original farm is still going full swing... set on a sandstone base I hacked out by hand and solid as a rock.

    I was younger then.
    Hasbeen
    13th Mar 2018
    7:32pm
    Actually Mick it was those 2 Bs, Beattie & Bligh that were ripping off the farmers.

    They also spent billions on a water grid that can only pump water from the country or the gold coast, & not back the other way, that all water users are still paying for. Not a right winger anywhere.
    TREBOR
    12th Mar 2018
    12:56pm
    DON'T! I can't afford that much laughter at my age.....
    johnp
    12th Mar 2018
    2:56pm
    problem these days is there are too many multiple water corps. all with their plush offices, and many and various depts being multiplied many times over by the number of corps. Plus boards, directors CEOs, CxOs, upper managements etc
    TREBOR
    12th Mar 2018
    7:56pm
    Even our local soup supplier - the kind of soup that leaves a white film on your windscreen if you rinse it off before driving and tastes like dreck... has a plush office right next door to the council offices.... and the (over-priced via supply fee, not usage) still says it's part of council.

    I suppose they have to pay for their extra staff to file their nails and their plush offices.

    Never seen a work gang here.... passed a road gang at 0930 hours Saturday and they were deep into their tea break... coming back hours later was hard pressed to see what they'd actually done for the penalty rate day. Cleaned out a couple of culvert inlets, I think... a local farmer could do it in twenty minutes with his tractor.. but a gang of seven or so with all the gear... coupla day!
    downunder
    12th Mar 2018
    4:20pm
    Falling water bills? Certainly not in Tasmania. Here our bills only know one direction: up up and up
    MICK
    12th Mar 2018
    5:55pm
    The irony is that the bastards charge for ACCESS not usage. So you pay whether you use a lot of water or not. Likely electricity will go the same way as more and more people put on solar.
    The system is broken.
    Young Simmo
    12th Mar 2018
    11:40pm
    This is an interesting subject. I live in a Caravan Park and get charged $6.40 per fortghtnight for water. So I rang the Water Co-orporation and asked what Caravan Pks get charged, and they said $7.88 per K/litre. I thought that seems like a lot and e-mailed them for a price about 4 days later and got the same answer. So I bought a water meter on E-bay, and low and behold I used about $25s worth in 5 days. I'll get past a couple of fortnights to get a true picture and then remove the meter before somebody looks at it. I would now like to know what other places are being charged per K/litre.
    DINGOPOO
    13th Mar 2018
    11:33am
    Where do they get this Bullshit from? I live on the mid north coast, where it would be cheaper to drink, and bath in liquid gold.
    musicveg
    13th Mar 2018
    12:51pm
    I have not seen any change in prices. I hope people won't think they can use more water, we need to stop wasting it, like in the coal seam gas industry etc.


    Tags: water, bills, money