Water charges tracking upwards


CLARENCE Valley residents who love to dawdle under the warmth of a fast-running hot shower, may want to change their ways when new water charges are introduced July 1.

The Clarence Valley Council today will consider proposed water charges for the 2006/2007 financial year.

As part of council's 'Best Practice Pricing' principles an inclining tariff for residential consumers will be introduced.

The tariff is designed to charge households more if they use over a certain amount of water.

All residential consumption above an average daily usage of 1.233 kilolitres in any billing period will be charged at one-and-ahalf times the normal rate.

Council's manager of water and waste water services Greg Mashiah said charges have been introduced to encourage households to save water. The State Government also requires council to get 75 per cent of its water income from consumption.

Council's proposal for water charges also indicate an annual increase of 7 per cent per year for the next three to four years.

Council's director of engineering services David Andrews said there were two main reasons for the increase, which covered the supply of water and reduced gov- ernment subsidies.

"Both water and sewerage infrastructure are being upgraded ... we have the regional water supply scheme and all the sewerage schemes in the Valley," he said.

"They're all being developed now, so we're actually building new things as well as maintaining existing infrastructure. The other reason is that we have a reduced subsidy from the State Government to build these works."

But, Mr Mashiah said the seven per cent increase may not translate to an automatic bill increase for all water users across the Clarence Valley. He said some customers could still find their water bills were cheaper than in previous years.

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