26 September 2023

IPART floats water price management

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The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is calling for feedback on draft reports which propose price increases for rural bulk water supplies and water resource management in NSW.

Acting Chair of IPART, Deborah Cope said the Tribunal’s draft reports, Review of Prices for the Water Administration Ministerial Corporation and Review of Water NSW’s Rural Bulk Water Prices, were aimed at supporting the long term security and reliability of water supply in regional and rural NSW.

“The Reports set out IPART’s draft decisions on the maximum prices that Water NSW and the Water Administration Ministerial Corporation (WAMC) can charge for rural bulk water services and water resource management functions over the next four years,” Ms Cope said.

“Regulated charges for bulk water supplied by Water NSW vary widely by valley, but would increase on 1 July 2021 by 25 per cent on average, before inflation,” she said.

“These charges would then be held constant over the next four years.”

Ms Cope said the WAMC’s charges also varied across each of the 27 water sources in NSW.

She said that over the next four years, WAMC charges would decline by up to 16 per cent in five water sources; increase by up to 10 per cent in 14 water sources; and increase by more than 10 per cent in eight water sources.

“Increases in expenditure are needed to provide a sustainable water supply in regional areas, which are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change,” she said.

Ms Cope said IPART’s Draft Reports supported increases in prices, but not to the extent of those proposed by both organisations.

“These price increases will enable Water NSW and WAMC to lift their performance so that dams and other infrastructure are adequately maintained and water sources are effectively managed for the long term benefit of water users,” she said.

“Our WAMC Draft Report recommends a transition to higher prices to limit bill impacts,” Ms Cope said.

The prices proposed in IPART’s Draft Reports would apply from 1 July.

IPART’s 217-page water resource management Draft Report, including information on how to have say, can be accessed at this PS News link and its 215-page rural bulk water Draft Report at this link.

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