Water Service Metering and Consumption Based Water Charges
Under the National Water Initiative and the National Competition Policy, Council is required to act to encourage effective and efficient delivery of water supplies and promote sustainable water conservation practices across the Shire. Under the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW), Council is entitled to charge for the provision of water services to recover the cost of provision of the same services. Consumption based water tariffs are generally held to be the fairest method of encouraging efficient water use as users are only charged for the water they actually use, as well as being an approved way to recover water resource management costs. In order to fairly and legally charge consumption based water tariffs, council must install approved water meters on all connections to town water supplies.
Council is entitled by law to install water meters on all connections to town water supplies (including public access standpipes). Proposed consumption based water charges require that approved meters be installed on all connections and that meter readings be conducted on a regular basis. Further information on the nature and structure of the water billing system is contained in the attached council resolution.
Cost to the Ratepayer/Property Owner
The proposed installation of new meters will be conducted at no charge to the public. Any new meters smashed or rendered inoperable after the initial installtion will be replaced and the cost of replacement charged to the property owner.
Rates & Charges
Proposed rates and charges must be assessed with due consideration to cost of supplying the resource. Before implementation, rates and charges must be approved through council and published in the annual management plan. The Walgett Shire Council Management Plan is available at no charge from the Walgett Shire Council Chambers. Proposed rates and charges (including pensioners rebates and allowances) are expected to be published in the 2007-2008 Management Plan for approval.
All towns/villages with council supplied water will have meters installed on all connections. These include Walgett, Lightning Ridge, Collarenebri, Rowena and Carinda.
One of the main objectives of installing a water metering system is to monitor and collect data on water use throughout the Shire. Council will also be installing meters on all Council owned supplies (eg. bore baths, standpipes and swimming pools) to more accurately capture water use data for use in future planning. An efficient metering system also makes it more likely that cheaters and water thieves will be caught.
All residents of the Walgett Shire (and most visitors) know how dry and hot this country can be. Unlike those living near the ocean, or drawing water from large lakes, towns in Walgett Shire do not have access to unlimited supplies of useable water. Most people know that rivers run dry, but bores can also be pumped beyond their capacity to refill if enough water is taken.
We all know that a plentiful supply of clean water is essential to the health and wellbeing of all people. Do we ever think that most businesses in the Shire (including agriculture) depend on a steady supply of good water as well? Unfortunately, we only have a certain amount of water to supply the needs of all people and businesses in the Shire.
Walgett and Collarenebri towns depend on a plentiful supply of river water. Lightning Ridge, Rowena and Carinda all depend on bores for their supply. As a community, we simply do not have enough water to be wasting it and watching it run down gutters when someone forgets to turn a tap off. A consumption based water tariff system will discourage people from wasting water because people will be made to pay for what they use.
What is Required?
In the near future, all properties connected to town water supplies will have meters installed on both filtered and raw water connections. Occupiers of all dwellings and business properties will be notified well in advance of the date of meter installation. All pets (especially dogs) and/or guard animals should be restrained in such a manner that the personnel installing the meters can do so in safe manner. Enclosed yards should be left unlocked, or someone should be present to let personnel in. Trees and plants blocking access to the meter should be removed and where necessary, soil dug out from around buried meters. Householders should keep in mind that meter reading will be an ongoing thing, and that access to meters may be required by Council at any time.
Changes to Existing Connections
Householders requiring changes to existing connections do so at their own cost, and with the written approval of the relevant council representatives. Council will not reposition connections as part of the meter installation programme.
Questions & Queries
Questions and queries about individual situations should be made in writing and addressed to the General Manager, Walgett Shire Council.
Phone: 02 68281399
Fax: 02 68281608