Water Billing

Information Factsheet: How to read your Water Meter 

Commences Mid-September 2012.

Walgett Shire Council is implementing user pays water billing from mid-Spetember 2012 in accordance with the Best Practice Management of Water Supply and Sewerage Guidelines introduced by the NSW Government.

The purpose of encouraging best practice for Local water Utilities (LWU) is: to encourage the effective and efficient delivery of water supply and sewerage services; and    to promote sustainable water conservation practices and water demand management.

A key part of water demand management is understanding how and when water is used. To do this metering of water consumption is required and during 2009 / 2010, the Council undertook the installation of water meters in each of the towns and villages that are provided with a reticulated water supply.


Charging Structure

Under the Best Practice Guidelines, the usage charge should recover those costs that vary with demand in the long term (Long Run Marginal Cost). In addition the guidelines state that the residential water usage charge should be set to recover at least 50% of the water revenue.

High water consuming residential customers should be subject to a step price increase of at least 50% for incremental usage above a specified threshold (recommended not to exceed 600kl).

Walgett Council is required to demonstrate substantial compliance with the Guidelines in order to access financial assistance under the Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage (CTWS&S) Program and also compliance with National Competition Policy and the National Water Initiative.

The main challenge when introducing such a fundamental change to the way that Council charges for water is to achieve the objective of modifying usage patterns (high Consumption) through a combination of an access charge and a stepped tariff that increases with consumption over a certain threshold. A further element in the calculation of the fixed charge component is an incremental increase in the access charge for larger service sizes. This reflects the additional capacity that the reticulation system must have to meet the demand of the larger meter sizes. Most residential meters are on a 20mm service, with the other sizes being, 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, and 100mm.

The structure has been developed on the basis of a standard access charge and usage charges for the filtered and raw water supply schemes of Walgett and Collarenebri. A similar structure based on the specific costs and required revenue level applies to the bore water supplies of Lightning Ridge, Rowena, and Carinda.

In developing the recommended structure, the objective was to achieve as uniform an outcome as possible whilst achieving the intent of the water reform process to reduce consumption and water wastage. It was decided that the ratio in the first year be 70% access charge and 30% usage charge with the threshold before consumption moves to the level 2 tariff being 500kl for filtered water and 600kl for raw water and bore water.

Snapshot of Key Points

Separate Access charge / Usage charge tariff structures apply to The 'River Systems' (Walgett and Collarenebri) and the 'Bore Systems' (lightning Ridge, Rowena and Carinda.

The charging structures for each 'system' comprise an access charge (increases with the diameter size of the service provided) and a two stage consumption charge. In Collarenebri and Walgett, a separate access charge applies to both the filtered and raw water services. A two stage tariff applies to each system with the second charging level applying after the first 500kl for filtered water and the first 600kl for raw and bore water.

 On an estimated basis, sixty four percent of ratepayers on bore systems will pay between fifteen and thirty percent less for their water supply. A further twelve percent will receive a reduction of up to fifteen percent.

A further eighteen percent will incur an estimated increase of up to fifteen percent through to seven consumers with an increase in excess of five hundred percent. The larger increases are a result of higher access charges for larger meter sizes and higher consumption.

On an estimated basis, sixty six percent of ratepayers in Walgett and Collarenebri will receive a reduction of up to fifteen percent on their water charge.

Twenty two percent of consumers will incur an increase of up to fifteen percent through to four consumers with an increase in excess of five hundred percent. This is due to the same reasons as for the bore water supplies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions are designed to help you understand the changes ahead and learn how you can benefit from a user-pays system.

Why were water meters installed?

The NSW Government requires that all properties must have water meters installed by June 2012.

The installation of water meters and the subsequent charging of water on a user pays basis is a key element of sustainable water management and conservation practices.


I don't want water meters installed. It's my water. What can I do?

All residential, commercial and Council properties must have water meters installed by June 2012.

Unfortunately we do not own the water in the River. The NSW Office of Water provides Council with a licence to take water from the River. If you wish to talk to the NSW Office of Water contact the Dubbo Office on 02 6884 2560.

In Walgett and Collarenebri, will all water be metered? Or just the drinking water?

Both the filtered and raw water supplies are metered and consumption through both systems will be billed through the new user pays system. The filtered water you use inside your home for drinking and includes the kitchen, bathroom and laundry and  the river water you use outside the house in the garden. This water is not safe to drink, it is not treated and is supplied directly from the river.

When will I receive my first water Account?

The first water account will be issued in early February 2013 for the 4 month period mid September 2012 to mid January 2013. Prior to this a 'SAMPLE' account will be issued in September 2012 to provide an indication of possible charges for your property.

Are all properties and houses metered and will receive water accounts?

Yes. All buildings that use water from the Walgett Council reticulated water supply will have a meter installed.

This includes:


  • residential homes,
  • businesses,
  • offices,
  • schools,
  • motels,
  • clubs and pubs,
  • hospital and health buildings,
  • Aboriginal Land Council Houses,
  • social housing,
  • Council housing
  • Council Chambers and Visitor Information Centre


How will user pays water billing affect me?

The introduction of water meters and the user pays billing will no doubt make you think about how much water you use inside your home or business. Water meters should also make you start to wonder - how can I use water wisely and therefore save money on my water bill? Read on for more information about water use - and wise water use.

How will water be charged?

Just like your electricity bill and phone bill, there will be a charge to access the water and a charge to use the water.

Access Charge: The access charge is made up of 70% of the total cost required per year to supply potable water to Walgett Shire residents.

Usage Charge: You will be charged a set price for each kilolitre of water used under a two stage tariff. If you use water wisely, you will not pay more than the average user - and you can even reduce your current bill.

How is water used inside the average home every day?

Having a Shower = 37%

Doing the Laundry = 27%

Flushing the toilet = 22%

Turning on the kitchen and bathroom taps = 14%

How much water do I use for activities around the house? What appliances can save water?


Regular type of shower head

- almost 2 buckets (18 litres) per minute

3-star-rated showerhead/p>

- 1 bucket (9 litres) per minute


Average bath

- 6.5 buckets (58.5 litres)


11 litre full flush

- 6 buckets (54 litres) per person per day

11 litre full flush(with cistern weight)

- 5 buckets (45 litres) per person per day

3-star-rated dual flush/p>

- 2 buckets (18 litres) per person per day

Hand basin

Running tap

- up to 2 buckets (18 litres) per minute


Hand washing

- 2 buckets (18 litres) per cycle

Dishwashing machine (1980s model)

- 4.5 buckets (40.5 litres) per cycle

Dishwashing machine (1993-96 model)

- 3 buckets (27 litres) per cycle

3-star-rated machine (1998 or later)

- 2 buckets (18 litres) per cycle

Clothes washing

Average washing machine

- almost 11 buckets (99 litres) per load

Best Practice 4½-star rated machine

- 4.5 buckets (40.5 litres) per load

What can I do to save water inside my home?

1. Click here for information about water saving tips.

2. Fix all leaking taps, pipes and toilets

3. When you next need to replace appliances that use water in your home, purchase products with water saving star ratings. This can include:


  • A water saving showerhead
  • A 3-star rated dual flush toilet
  • A 3-star rated dishwashing machine
  • A 4 ½ star-rated washing machine
  • Only run your evaporative air conditioner in the rooms you are using


I have a leaky tap and pipe, will this cost me money?

Yes. If the water is supplied to your house, you will pay for it. Even if your tap is leaking or you accidently leave it running all day, you will still have to pay for the water. If your pipe is leaking in your yard, you will also have to pay for the water. Some interesting information on the amount of water used in a water leak:

Leaks (taps & pipes)

Dripping tap

- 3 to 22 buckets (27 to 198 litres) per day

Leaking pipe (1.5mm hole)

- 11 buckets (99 litres) per day

Leaks (from toilet cisterns)

Slow, barely visible

- 1 bucket (9 litres) per day

Leak visible in toilet pan water

- 4 buckets (36 litres) per day

Visible - just loud enough to hear

- 16 buckets (144 litres) per day

Quite visible - constant refilling hiss

- 29 buckets (261 litres) per day


I still have unanswered questions. Who can I call?

Stephen Holland

Director - Corporate Services Walgett Shire Council -  02 6828 6122

Jeremy Way

Rates Officer - Walgett Shire Council -  02 6828 6111


please send an email to: admin@walgett.nsw.gov.au