Commercial users of recycled water may be required to pay for the service from 1 July 2021 after Councillors voted to consider bringing in charges for the service.
Demand for recycled water has steadily increased since Council began the supply in the late 1990s and now totals 59 customers including 34 agricultural, 15 non-agricultural and 10 Council facilities.
“Recycled water is a very valuable asset and having a reliable and secure water source is vital for local agricultural producers – a fact which was highlighted in the drought conditions we were experiencing until very recently,” said Mick Raby, Council’s Director Sustainable Infrastructure.
“We have provided it free since our water reclamation plants came on-stream, but there are costs in maintaining, renewing and overseeing the supply pipelines, which a small charge would help offset.
“Charging for recycled water would also highlight its importance and the need for users to cut losses caused by leaks from poorly-maintained equipment.”
The charges under consideration are 20 cents per kilolitre of recycled water used and a licencing charge of $447 per year. Non-commercial and not-for-profit sporting bodies would be exempt from charges on their allocated supply. Only commercial operators would be billed.
The move follows a 63-day community consultation from mid-October to mid-December 2020 which attracted 38 submissions.
After considering the submissions, it is proposed that:
- Recycled Water Consumption Charges for commercial operators begin from 1 July 2021; and
- A financial rebate program will be established to reward commercial users who are able to demonstrate a high degree of efficiency in their use of Recycled Water.
Councillors will consider the new charges as part of discussions on Council’s future budgets.