6 June 2024

Canberrans' water bills to jump 7.1 per cent

| Claire Fenwicke
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Woman washing up in sink

Charges for water and sewerage in the ACT will go up in the 2024-25 financial year. Photo: gpointstudio.

Inflation and infrastructure costs will push the cost of water and sewerage up by 7 per cent or about $89 for a typical ACT household in the coming financial year.

The ACT’s economic regulator, the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), outlined the increase as part of the annual update of the maximum prices Icon Water can charge for its water and sewerage services from 1 July.

“A typical household consuming 200 kilolitres of water per year will see an increase of $89, or around 7.1 per cent, in their annual combined water and sewerage bill in 2024-25,” Senior Commissioner Joe Dimasi said.

This equates to a $1338 bill for a typical household consuming 200 kilolitres per annum.

There will also be an additional annual charge of $566.50 per flushing fixture for non-residential customers with more than two flushing fixtures.

Non-residential customers will see their combined annual bill increase by $762 to $8961, depending on water consumption and the number of billable flushing fixtures.

A mid-level non-residential customer consuming 5000 kL per annum with 50 billable flushing fixtures will pay $54,361 in 2024-25, an increase of 7.3 per cent from the previous year.

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The 7.1 per cent increase for households is higher than the estimated price increase of 6.1 per cent that had been outlined in the forecast for prices from 2023 to 2028.

The ICRC said this was because actual inflation was higher than the Reserve Bank of Australia’s forecast when the cost estimate was written.

“The key drivers of the price increase in 2024-25 continued to be the recent high levels of inflation and infrastructure investments approved as a part of the commission’s final decision on regulated water and sewerage services prices for the 2023-28 regulatory period,” it stated.

“The price increase is partially offset by lower than forecast government charges and a reduction in the cost of debt.”

Infrastructure investments increased by nearly $270 million from the previous regulatory period, including more than $280 million for upgrades to Canberra’s primary wastewater treatment plant at Lower Molonglo.

table of cost breakdowns

Summary of maximum annual price changes, 2023-24 to 2024-25 ($, nominal). Photo: ICRC.

The Precinct Charge that developers pay to Icon Water to fund infrastructure upgrades will decrease to $987 per equivalent population, a reduction of $54 from 2023-24.

This is mainly because of prior over-recovery of funds and updates to cost estimates, which resulted in a reduction in water and sewerage capital expenditure of around $5 million.

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Canberrans who are experiencing financial hardship can contact Icon Water for assistance.

The ACT Government also offers further support to help low-income and vulnerable customers meet the costs of their utility bills.

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Back in the 2000s, during the drought, we were inundated with messaging to save water. We did, but were hit with increases. Do the right thing, get hit in the hip pocket. Par for the course

You know that the majority of the cost comes from the provision of pipes and infrastructure and not the actual physical water right?

Nah, dams are free to build and maintain chewy14, it’s rainfall that is so expensive. Did I get that right?

Oh I get it, it’s like power costs will come down, but you do realise that all those solar farms and wind turbines add to the cost in the first instance. Yep that makes sense now

You mean rainfall that wasn’t going to fill the dams according to Tim Flummery

No Futureproof,
if one thing is clear, you do not in fact “get it”.

As I identify as a ACT resident rather than as a Canberran, or god forbid, a Ken Behren, i trust the rise doesn’t apply to me?

Remember back in the early 2000s with all those ads – reduce water usage, electronic signs on trailers detailing Canberra’s daily usage,,?

Because of inflation we must increase prices… I love that argument.. Inflation fuelling more inflation

How typical. That should boost disposable income.

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