How water rates are calculated
Water rates reflect the cost of delivering a water supply service. The cost of providing this service to a community with our geography is considerable.
Council takes a water pricing approach that is widely used throughout Australia. It is based on a two-part tariff system that includes a fixed (or “connection charge”) and a usage charge. The connection charge applies to all properties that are eligible to be connected to the water network. The usage charge is based on the amount of water that is consumed.
While it is not necessarily this simple, the fixed charge generally covers the costs of water assets and the consumption charge supports the variable costs to deliver the service such as electricity and chemicals.
The combined charges of both the connection and usage charges cover all costs related to water supply.
Water assets have a total value of over $750 million.
There are currently water supply services in the following areas:
- 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, Jondaryan, Kingsthorpe, Kleinton, Lilyvale, Meringandan, Meringandan West, Merritts Creek, Oakey, Pechey, Spring Bluff, Torrington, Wellcamp, Westbrook, Woolmer and Wyreema.
- Regional water supplies. This includes a variety of services in Cambooya, Cecil Plains, Clifton, Greenmount, Haden, Hodgson Vale, Kulpi, Millmerran, Nobby, Pittsworth, Vale View and Yarraman.
Charges for those eligible for the Toowoomba Bulk Water supply scheme are calculated independently of Regional Water Supplies. Ie: there is no cross-subsidisation between these two schemes so each community is charged according to the costs relevant to their scheme.
More information about various charges can be found in Council’s annual Budget documentation. Refer to page 55 of the related document below.
Water supply charges
The table below sets out the access and consumption charges for a household with a 20mm diameter meter. For further details about rates applying to other connection sizes and higher consumption values, view the related document below.
- Regional Water Supply schemes operate and charge separately to the Toowoomba scheme. Consumers outside the Toowoomba bulk water system are levied an access charge of $437.28/annum while their first tier consumption charge is $1.15 per kL and the second tier charge $2.07 per kL.
- For households on the Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply, the first tier consumption charge is $2.34 per kilolitre (kL or 1000 litres) and the second tier charge is $3.79 per kL.
|Regional Water Supplies||Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply|
|Normal water service connection size||Access charge||First tier maximum consumption limit||Access charge||First tier maximum consumption limit|
|Tier charge||First tier||Second tier||First tier||Second tier|
|Timing of Rates notices|
|Half yearly Water Rates notices||To be sent during October and April|
|To include – water access charge and water consumption|
What role does the pipeline from Wivenhoe dam play?
Access to the Wivenhoe Pipeline is part of a 10 year agreement between Council and the State Government to secure a reliable water supply for the region. This agreement governs the use and pricing of the Pipeline through to 2020. This agreement does not have a minimum volume of water required to be used. Council draws water only as is required to supplement other water sources or for the maintenance of the infrastructure. The Pipeline is set to operate once other dam water sources reduce to 40%. Otherwise the operating regime is to operate the pipeline pumps regularly for a short period to turn water over in the pipeline.
At the time it was estimated that this would secure the City’s water supply through to 2051.
Council pays an ongoing fee (a fixed charge) for access to the Wivenhoe Dam water supply. An exception to this was negotiated by Council in the form of a waiver of these fees for the first four years of the agreement (from 2009 to 2013). This fee is set for the term of the agreement at $4.28 million (plus Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustments).
In addition to fixed charges, variable charges are also paid for water used from Wivenhoe Dam. For the term of the agreement these were originally set at $300 per megalitre (plus CPI adjustments).
For further information please refer to Clause 8 Water Charges - 2017/18 of the Special Meeting of Council - 29 June 2017 - Unconfirmed Minutes (2017/18 Budget).