Water rates

Water rate notices are issued during April and October and reflect the cost of delivering a water supply service to the community.

From the date of the notice, you have 30 days to pay or enter into a payment arrangement with us. A 10% discount is applied if the water rate notice is paid by the due date. 

Related information

 

Why your water rates may have increased

Unlike many other Councils, we own and operate our own extensive water network which supplies clean water to around 160,000 consumers.

Our water pricing regime has been changed to ensure long-term financial sustainability of our community's water supply. The increase in water prices was included in the 2019/20 budget adopted on 24 June 2019. Read more about the 2019/20 budget here.

All properties in our region have been categorised as residential or non-residential and the water rates increase will vary depending on the category of your property.

Water rates for residential properties have increased by 4.1% and non-residential properties by 6%. 

The factors that have contributed to a change in water pricing are: 

Frequently asked questions 

We realise the water rates increase might raise a few questions so here are some answers.

What is the definition of a residential or non-residential property?

Residential properties include dwellings, flats, home units and vacant land. Non-residential properties include shops, warehouses, office blocks, schools, hotels and shopping centres.

If you believe your property has been categorised incorrectly, please contact us.

Is the price increase related to the drought and water restrictions?

No. We are not increasing water charges because of a reduction in water consumption. The review of our water pricing was undertaken before water restrictions were increased.

Are water rates increasing for all consumers in our region?

Yes. The water rate charges have increased for all consumers of the Toowoomba bulk water supply and non-Toowoomba bulk water supply.

A list of the towns supplied by the two different services can be found lower on the page.

What water infrastructure projects are planned?

We have a large number of projects planned for the future. Major projects of interest can be found on our Major projects - water and waste web page. A few highlights are:

 

How your water rate notice is calculated

The charges on your notice can look complex and be difficult to understand. So to help you, we've provided an explanation about the standard items that make up your notice and how these are calculated to get your total amount. Below you'll find information about:

  1. Water charges
  2. Water supply services
  3. Property category
  4. Water rate pricing
  5. Water rate notice example

1. Water charges

Your water rate notice is split into two different types of charges; a water consumption charge and a water access charge. These combined charges cover the costs related to water supply such as operating costs, maintenance, upgrade and expansion costs and depreciation. This pricing approach is widely used by Councils.

  1. Water consumption charge: To encourage responsible use of water, consumption is scaled so that the more water you use, the more you pay. Consumption is charged per kilolitre and divided into two tiers each 6 month period. The water consumption price covers the variable costs including treatment and transporting of water.

  2. Water access charge: The water access charge is a fixed charge and is charged each 6 month period. It applies to all properties that are eligible. This charge covers the cost of access to the water supply and maintenance of the water network, including the Wivenhoe pipeline. 

2. Water supply services

We have two main water supply services; Toowoomba bulk water supply and non-Toowoomba bulk water supply. These services receive water from different sources. Because of this, the cost of operating the supplies is different, and this is reflected in our water rates pricing (residents using the non-Toowoomba bulk water supply pay less for the water service). 

The Toowoomba bulk water supply uses a complex water system with unique challenges and our water costs reflect this (e.g. the need to pump water uphill and supply a vast Council area).

  1. Toowoomba bulk water supply. This includes the City of Toowoomba as well as the towns and localities of Bergen, Birnam, Blue Mountain Heights, Cabarlah, Cawdor, Charlton, Coalbank, Cotswold Hills, Crows Nest, Geham, Glenvale, Goombungee, Gowrie Junction, Gowrie Mountain, Grapetree, Hampton, Highfields, Hodgson Vale, Jondaryan, Kingsthorpe, Kleinton, Lilyvale, Meringandan, Meringandan West, Merritts Creek, Mount Rascal, Oakey, Pechey, Preston, Spring Bluff, Top Camp, Torrington, Wellcamp, Westbrook, Woolmer, Wyreema.

  2. Non-Toowoomba bulk water supply. This includes a variety of services in Cambooya, Cecil Plains, Clifton, Greenmount, Haden, Kulpi, Millmerran, Nobby, Pittsworth, Vale View and Yarraman.

Charges for those eligible for the Toowoomba bulk water supply scheme are calculated independently of Non-Toowoomba bulk water supply, ie: there is no cross-subsidisation between these two schemes so each community is charged according to the costs relevant to their scheme.

3. Property category

All properties in our region have been categorised as residential or non-residential and the price you pay for water will depend on the type of property you have. Residential properties include dwellings, flats, home units and vacant land. Non-residential properties include shops, warehouses, office blocks, schools, hotels and shopping centres.

4. Water rate pricing

The prices for all water access and water consumption charges can be found in the Special Meeting of Council (Adoption of the 2019 20 Operational Plan, Budget and Revenue Statement) - 24 June 2019 - Minutes.

We have included an example of half-yearly pricing for a household with a 20mm diameter meter below.

Residential

Non-Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply

Normal water service connection size: 20mm

Access charge: $236.93

First tier maximum consumption limit: 125kL

Tier charges:

Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply

Normal water service connection size: 20mm

Access charge: $325.10

First tier maximum consumption limit: 100kL

Tier charges:

 

 

Non residential

Non-Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply 

Normal water service connection size: 20mm

Access charge: $245.67

First tier maximum consumption limit: 125kL

Tier charges:

Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply

Normal water service connection size: 20mm

Access charge: $337.08

First tier maximum consumption limit: 100kL

Tier charges:

 

5. Breakdown of a sample water rate notice

Water rate notice - front page

sample water rate notice page1

Water rate notice- back page

sample water rate notice page 2 v2

 

Wivenhoe dam pipeline

The pipeline from Wivenhoe Dam (Seqwater) provides security of supply when the rainfall in our dam catchments is insufficient to maintain supply to meet the region's growing needs. Access to the Wivenhoe pipeline is part of a 10 year agreement between Council and the State Government. This agreement governs the use and pricing of the pipeline through to 2020. 

The agreement does not have a minimum volume of water required to be used. Instead we will only draw water as required to supplement other water sources or for the maintenance of the infrastructure. 

How does this affect me as a ratepayer?

The pump and pipeline cost $187 million in 2010. This asset is owned and maintained by us as part of our water network. The Queensland Government provided a subsidy of $112.2 million and a loan of $60.856 million over 20 years.

Operational costs include:

Ongoing costs for access to Wivenhoe water exist in addition to operational costs. We pay Seqwater an access charge that applies whether the pipeline is being used or not.

Only residents connected to the Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply contribute to the payment of these costs. The Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply services the city of Toowoomba and the surrounding towns of Oakey, Jondaryan, Haden, Crows Nest, Highfields, Kingsthorpe, Gowrie Junction, Meringandan, Westbrook and Goombungee.

When will the pipeline be used?

March 2019 update: As summer rains have not provided sufficient water to increase levels in our water supply dams, it's likely that pumping from Wivenhoe Dam may be required in the next few months.

There are many factors that contribute to when and how the Wivenhoe pipeline is efficiently used. This includes:

Will water prices for Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply users increase when pumping is required from Wivenhoe?

We set water pricing each year as a part of our budget. Current pricing is set in place until the end of June 2019.

It is more expensive to pump water from Wivenhoe Dam than when rainfall fills our own water supply dams. We'll look to manage any additional costs through the usual budget processes with the aim of limiting impact on the community wherever possible. Costs are being taken into consideration as we workshop the 2019-2020 budget. We are committed to doing our best to alleviate impacts to residents.

How does the Wivenhoe loan affect Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply users’ water charges?

The loan is calculated into the costs of operating the overall system to avoid large variations in year-to-year water costs.

The payment of the Wivenhoe pipeline loan is supported by the income of water access and usage charges over the long term. As a part of our whole water network (worth over $900 million), this particular asset is managed in the same way as our other assets – with a long-term financial sustainability approach.

There isn't a direct relationship between a resident’s water access charge and the payment of the Wivenhoe loan, so it's unlikely that this charge will vary greatly when the Wivenhoe loan is paid off.

More information

Further information about the Wivenhoe pipeline can be found on our Wivenhoe pipeline FAQs page.

 

Why your water usage might be higher than expected

If your water usage is higher than expected, it may be due to one of the reasons below. Receiving your water notice is often a good prompt to your review your water use habits. Check out our water saving tips to help reduce your water consumption, and save money!

 

What to do after purchasing or selling a property

Once all necessary paperwork for the sale of the house has been processed by the solicitors, they will send the settlement/transfer of ownership documents to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME). The documents are lodged with the titles office to change the name on the title deed for the property. DNRME will then inform us of the change of ownership. This process can take up to 3 months.

The solicitors should organise for the meter to be read at the time of settlement to allow for adjustments to be made for water usage. This allows for the calculation of the proportion of water rates (made up of water consumption charges and an access fee) that should be adjusted on settlement day.

Frequently asked questions

My water rates consumption charges and access fee are for a period of time when I was not the owner of the property

In most cases when a property goes through settlement the solicitors will do an adjustment to accommodate water rates and charges. We do not adjust water rates and consumption charges, and the current property owner will always receive the notice, even when the usage was from the previous owner. This is why in most cases, dependent on the solicitor, an adjustment is made at settlement. These adjustments can usually be found in the settlement statement. Otherwise, you can contact your solicitor to discuss the breakdown of water rates and charges.

I have received a rates notice but I'm no longer the owner of the property

Sometimes when settlement occurs during the rates issue period the notice is issued to the previous owner. Even though settlement has taken place, it can take us up to three months to receive notification of the new owner from the titles office. If this occurs, contact us and we can check the status of the change of ownership.

Last Updated: Thursday, 26 September 2019 13:50