The Southeast Queensland Bulk Water Price Review 2018-21 recommended increasing the bulk water charge for 11 council areas.
The Southeast Queensland Bulk Water Price Review 2018-21 recommended increasing the bulk water charge for 11 council areas. Brett Wortman

Household water bills will rise to pay off $9b debt

THE cost of water for Ipswich households could increase by more than $47 within three years to pay for Seqwater's $9.4billion debt.

A report, the Southeast Queensland Bulk Water Price Review 2018-21, recommended increasing the bulk water charge for 11 council areas.

Redland City and Sunshine Coast would bear the largest price increases so all areas on the southeast Queensland water grid would pay a common price within the next three years for water purchased from Seqwater.

In Ipswich, Queensland Urban Utilities on-sells that water to consumers after adding its own mark-up.

For Ipswich ratepayers, the rate a kilolitre will rise from the current level of $2.817 up to $3.122 - increasing the cost of bulk water for an average home from $450 to $497.

This will be in addition to the tiered consumption charges billed to households by Queensland Urban Utilities for each kilolitre of water used.

According to the calculations tabled in the final report, it will result in a $48.80 hike in the annual water bill for the average southeast Queensland household of two people using 160kL a year.

A family of four would face a $77.17 increase.

The State Government directed the Queensland Competition Authority to recommend Seqwater bulk-water prices for the coming three-year period.

It said prices were calculated to provide Seqwater with "sufficient revenue to recover the prudent and efficient costs of providing bulk water supply services and to repay its price-path debt over the coming 10-year period".

The State Government is considering the report.

Seqwater declined to comment while prices were under consideration.

Much of Seqwater's debt was accrued from building infrastructure, including the Tugan Desalination Plant, during the severe drought in the mid-2000s.