Central Highlands Water releases key planning document for comment
Central Highlands Water (CHW) today released its draft key planning document - the 2013-2018 Water Plan.
The Water Plan is a five-year planning document that is submitted to the Water industry independent economic regulator, the Essential Services Commission (ESC). It sets out the strategies, initiatives, revenue and expenditure required by CHW to deliver its water and sewerage services for the five years 2013 – 2018.
The draft Water Plan 2013-2018 continues to build on the work undertaken during this Water Plan period (2008-2013) which delivered long-term water security across the region during the longest drought in recent history.
This Plan will guide CHW’s investment, with a focus on maintaining and improving the region’s water and sewerage services while providing capacity to support future regional growth.
Key projects included in the plan are:
- Major investment in the Ballarat South Sewerage Treatment Plant and sewer pipe network to provide for future capacity
- Major water quality improvements in Maryborough
- Dam improvement works and upgrades at Ballarat and Daylesford
- New water and sewer mains
- Upgrades to existing water and sewer mains, to maintain and improve servicereliability
- Increase in the water mains cleaning program to improve water quality
- Ensuring that growth (expected to be around 2%) is absorbed into the existing business model.
The Plan also proposes that the current three tier water volume pricing model will be replaced with a more equitable two tier model. The limits on water usage before customers move to the next pricing tier on water use have been increased. The lower tier usage limit moves from 150 kilolitres (150,000 litres per annum per connection), to 175 kilolitres (175,000 litres per annum per connection) while it is proposed that the upper step third tier will be removed.
Central Highlands Water Interim Managing Director, Paul O’Donohue, said the switch to two levels of pricing gives consumers certainty and greater flexibility in managing their water consumption.
“Larger families and lower income customers, in particular, will benefit with the change to a two tiered pricing model and it will simplify the bill that the customer receives”.
“The draft Plan offers customers pricing certainty, with a one off 8.5% increase in the first year and for the following four years Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases only”.
“Central Highlands Water has kept price rises for our customers at a minimum. The average residential customer bill will increase by approximately $10 per month or $2.40 a week,” Mr O’Donohue said.
“Over the next five years we will continue our commitment of ensuring our customers can access a secure and sustainable supply of safe clean water to 15 supply systems and access to sewerage services to 9 systems cross the region”.
Mr O’Donohue said that Central Highlands Water will be writing to every customer in June 2012 with a summary of the draft and will welcome feedback to the draft plan prior to the final being submitted to the ESC in September 2012.
Copies of the draft Water Plan 2013-2018 are available by clicking here or by phoning 1800 061 514.
A final determination from the ESC is expected in May next year and the 2013-2018 Water Plan will come into effect from 1 July 2013.
Date: 31 May 2012