How much more are you willing to pay for water?

By 13 September, 2012 15

cotter dam

The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission has released a discussion paper on water prices.

• The most significant factor that could affect prices and bills in the next regulatory period would be recovering the revenue shortfall over a five-year period, which would increase prices in 2013–14 by 37 per cent and the bulk of customer bills by 26 to 33 per cent.

• The second most significant factor would be using ACTEW Water’s proposed rate of return, which would increase prices in 2013–14 by 20 per cent and the bulk of customer bills by 15 to 19 per cent.

• Recovering the revenue shortfall over the longer term would increase prices in 2013–14 by 10 per cent and the bulk of customer bills by 7 to 9 per cent.

• The alternative price structure proposed by ACTEW Water would result in higher overall water bills for low- and average-volume customers and a reduction in bills for high-volume customers.

The Commission is keen to hear the ACT community’s views on these important issues. The Commission will hold a public forum on the community consultation paper on Thursday 27 September 2012. Members of the ACT community are encouraged to attend.

[Photo by Androo]

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15 Responses to How much more are you willing to pay for water?
#1
Chop7112:25 pm, 13 Sep 12

What a f@#$%’in rip off.

I got my Gas, Electricity and Water bills yesterday. Thanks ACTEW for screwing me over again and again. (and I expect rates to be in the mail today/tomorrow and the gumbymint has promised they want them to go up too…. THANKS)

#2
gasman1:27 pm, 13 Sep 12

As long as we can wash our cars and flush our toilets with drinking water, then water is too cheap.

#3
poetix1:40 pm, 13 Sep 12

gasman said :

As long as we can wash our cars and flush our toilets with drinking water, then water is too cheap.

It is bizarre, isn’t it? When you see people in some countries walking huge distances for drinking water that we wouldn’t wash our cars with.

But water wasted on irrigating some crops that arguably should not be grown in Australia (rice, for example) is as big a worry.

#4
Antagonist1:56 pm, 13 Sep 12

Increase the cost for low and average-volume users, while reducing costs for high-volume users. Makes perfect sense to me. Not.

So who are the biggest water users? I’m going to guess it is the ACT Government.

#5
Postalgeek2:09 pm, 13 Sep 12

poetix said :

But water wasted on irrigating some crops that arguably should not be grown in Australia (rice, for example) is as big a worry.

It might be argued that rice is an inappropriate crop in some regions of Australia, but overall I personally would put food production at the bottom of the list of ways Australia manages to waste water.

#6
breda2:23 pm, 13 Sep 12

gasman said:

As long as we can wash our cars and flush our toilets with drinking water, then water is too cheap.
—————————————————————–
It seems counter-intuitive, but it ain’t so. The cost of running two separate water systems is far higher and more wasteful of resources than having a single one. Don’t forget, even grey water needs to be treated before it can be used for most purposes. You don’t want your dirty dishwater, which is full of grease and solids, to water your garden (it will kill your plants) or wash your car. You don’t want to wash your dishes or your clothes in water which is potentially contaminated with bacteria and viruses. It is simply much more practical to have a single system which provides safe drinking water everywhere. If people want to set up private greywater systems, fine. But it would be a massive financial impost for little benefit and some risks to mandate it.

Water is not a finite resource – it just keeps on recycling itself around the planet – it doesn’t get used up. The issue is with its distribution, not its availability.

It should also be pointed out that insufficient water use for flushing, whether in toilets or drains generally, clogs up pipes and overloads wastewater treatment facilities with too much muck and not enough water to dilute it.

There is a sort of Puritanism about water discussions which is usually not supported by dispassionate analysis.

#7
Chop712:56 pm, 13 Sep 12

Please don’t tell me the hive mind doesn’t care that your water bill could increase by up to 37% next year. Holy crap that is a lot (especially when you add it to electricity, car registration and everything else this town charges)

#8
chewy143:29 pm, 13 Sep 12

Chop71 said :

Please don’t tell me the hive mind doesn’t care that your water bill could increase by up to 37% next year. Holy crap that is a lot (especially when you add it to electricity, car registration and everything else this town charges)

Perhaps we’ve got to stop basing our water charges on people guessing how much water Canberra is going to use in the next 5 years.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/war-of-words-in-water-price-stoush-20120913-25twq.html

#9
dtc3:32 pm, 13 Sep 12

Reduce the connection charge, low rates for initial usage (say as much as a family would use in the house being efficient, excluding garden), then big jump for use over that (perhaps with an even bigger jump at outrageous levels).

Keep in mind that as ACTEW is govt owned and pays the govt a dividend, that dividend is effectively tax. The govt could tell ACTEW just to break even, and water bills would be $60m odd lower overall per year. (of course, that money needs to be obtained from somewhere/not spent on something)

#10
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd4:01 pm, 13 Sep 12

dtc said :

Reduce the connection charge, low rates for initial usage (say as much as a family would use in the house being efficient, excluding garden), then big jump for use over that (perhaps with an even bigger jump at outrageous levels).

Keep in mind that as ACTEW is govt owned and pays the govt a dividend, that dividend is effectively tax. The govt could tell ACTEW just to break even, and water bills would be $60m odd lower overall per year. (of course, that money needs to be obtained from somewhere/not spent on something)

It needs to be properly government owned and ran. We are being raped by actew.

#11
PantsMan4:23 pm, 13 Sep 12

You are asking the wrong question Johnboy. The REAL question is:
“How much does the ACT Government need to get as a dividend from ACTEW?”

Everything else—including the surrender monkeys at the ICRC—hangs off that.

#12
poppy5:56 pm, 13 Sep 12

Wouldn’t mind the usage charges going up so much if a) they got rid of the connection charges or reduced it to a small amount to cover administrative costs in situations like vacant houses with hardly any usage and b) stopped requiring landlords to be debt collectors for actew. Tenants should be billed directly and responsible for the consequences of non payment. Tenants at the moment have very little incentive to use water sensibly as they know the landlord has very little power to do anything if they refuse to pay the bill. It also causes a lot of administrative overhead to collect water charges from tenants, increasing costs to landlords.

Also the fact that our water usage charges are much higher than other parts of australia already, is annoying.

#13
miz7:04 pm, 13 Sep 12

It makes no sense that ACT’s water charges are higher than in other States. I got an email today from the Save our Garden City people that said a number of interesting things:

“We give some 97% of our average annual inflows downstream free of charge and, further, we, at our cost, pay for the dams which store water for downstream users who contribute nothing.

“Adelaide extracts up to 10 times more water from the Murray-Darling Basin than does Canberra – and Adelaide is not even in the Basin.

“For their efforts in cutting water use to only 20% of what it was per head in the 1950s, at the cost of dead trees and lawns and a degraded environment, Canberrans have been punished with the highest water prices in the country.

“Water prices should be cut now to operating costs only (about one-tenth of current prices) and infrastructure costs should be met by earmarked rates on the lands serviced.

“The ACT Treasury has never paid a cent towards water infrastructure. Dividends from ACTEW to the ACT Treasury should be stopped – they are just a hidden tax.

“For years ACTEW has been an abusive, price gouging, government monopoly which rations water instead of supplying it at its true cost.

“ACTEW should be abolished and turned into a non-profit public trust which delivers water at operating cost only. Water should cost nearer 40 cents a kilolitre then $4.66.”

I certainly found it convincing.

#14
kakosi7:52 pm, 13 Sep 12

Even before you use a drop of water you pay for having water connected – this added tax on every water bill is just one way we get ripped off in Canberra.

#15
NFI8:58 pm, 13 Sep 12

The problem is the pricing structure. Water utilities face largely fixed costs as they have to maintain the dams, water/sewer pipes regardless of rainfall. Over the last few decades, urban water pricing has shifted its focus to variable water pricing as a way of encouraging water efficiency. The problem arises when you get your water usage forecasts wrong and end up with a massive over/under recovery to pay for your fixed costs.

Of course, urban water use is insignificant compared to our wonderfully subsidised irrigation industry… Bring on Basin Plan 2.0!

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