Water bills have two main parts—the service charge and the usage charge. Although it’s gradually changing, service charges are generally the larger part of a water bill.
If a property is rented, the landlord or owner of the property, not the occupier, must pay the service charge. Tenants just pay for the water they use and sewerage disposal charges.
Depending on your location, the Customer Service Code for Metropolitan Retail and Regional Water Businesses or the Rural Water Customer Service Code sets out information that must be included on your water bill.
Your water usage is based on a reading of your water meter. Water meters are read every three months in metropolitan areas. Most regional urban water corporations also read meters every three months, though for some it’s every four months.
Urban water corporations can estimate bills, but they must use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to read your meter each billing cycle—and at least once every 12 months. This means that, potentially, three out of four water bills each year—or two of three bills for some regional urban water corporations — could be estimated. If a bill estimated, this must be noted on it.
If you hold an eligible concession card, your water bill may be reduced by government concessions.
Water pricing can be complicated. The metropolitan and regional water corporations operate under the Water Act 1989. For more details, see EWOV’s fact sheets for charges on water bills for metropolitan and regional customers.