Council Controlled Standpipes

Published: Friday, 19 October 2018 at 9:08:00 AM

                                                                  

IMPORTANT PUBLIC NOTICE TO LANDHOLDERS AND CONTRACTORS

Water Corporation New Pricing Policy for Council Owned Fixed Standpipes

Water Corporation will be implementing a new management and billing structure from the 1st July 2019 and information about this change has been provided to the Shire of Westonia

Local Government Authorities (LGAs) are entitled to access concessional pricing for water used for their own purposes. This will not change; however high flow rate LGA owned fixed standpipes that are publicly accessible will no longer be charged concessional rates and commercial rates will instead apply.

This change will affect users of all high flow LGA owned fixed standpipes in the Westonia Shire of which we have eleven (11). Although the price is charged to the LGA directly, the costs may be passed on to businesses, farmers and properties not connected to the scheme by way of standpipe controllers.

The major change is the way standpipes are billed. They will now be based on four categories shown below.

  • LGA Standpipe – No Annual Service Charge/$2.534 per kilolitre Water Use Charge
  • Community Standpipe - $265.41 Annual Service Charge/$2.534 per kilolitre Water Use Charge
  • Commercial Standpipe - $1,658.93 Annual Service Charge/up to $8.353 per kilolitre Water Use Charge
  • Fire-fighting Standpipe –No Annual Fee 100% discount/No Water Use Charge

How will rates and charges be applied to fixed standpipes?

The new pricing structure is linked to the size of the standpipe meter, as this determines the flow rate. Small standpipes (20mm and 25mm) generally deliver between 20 – 40 litres per minute. Large standpipes (any pipe larger than 25mm) generally deliver from 80 litres per minute and above.

All LGA standpipes with a meter size of 20mm or 25mm will receive concessional rates and are to be used by the LGA or for community purposes only (such as drought assistance for farmers or households not connected to scheme water when a drought condition is announced by the Government). All standpipes with a meter size above 25mm will be charged at a commercial rate, but an exemption to consumption charges will apply for water used for fire-fighting purposes.

Standpipes with a meter above 25mm that are located in a shire depot or locked for Shire use only will be able to access the concessional rate by providing evidence of the ability to control user access.

There will be no change to Fire Standpipes or fixed standpipes installed on privately owned property.

Why are these changes being made?

Some commercial customers (including farmers) have in the past accessed LGA owned standpipes with concessional rates which are below the regulated Town Class rate for the location as set by Government. Water is a precious resource and is regulated like any other valuable natural resource and correct pricing must be enforced.

When the incorrect water rates are used, it creates inequity and results in the community and State Government subsidising the activities of private enterprises on an unequal basis.

Fixed standpipes provide an essential source of water for customers who are remote from reticulated water schemes, amenities to communities by enabling local governments to maintain street trees and undertake minor building activities, and enable economic growth by supplying businesses that rely on carted water as an input to production

These changes will ensure the rate commercial customers pay is consistent across the state.

Why is the cost of water going up for commercial users when we have been accessing water without any issue?

Water is a valuable resource and regulated charges are set by the State Government based on its use. Pricing of water is based on a ‘user pays’ principle and in regional Western Australia it has not been implemented according to legislation for fixed standpipes. Having a regulated pricing structure ensures all users are paying the correct rate for water use no matter where they are located across the State. Current usage patterns on fixes standpipes have shown that commercial suppliers are getting charged at the concessional level by accessing LGA standpipes which is inequitable for other commercial operators that are charged correctly. Accessing large volumes of water from a fixed standpipe can also cause water supply issues to other users on the scheme and any large users need to be directed to the Water Corporation to be set up on a major consumer agreement.

What happens in drought conditions for the price of water to farmers?

A ‘Water Deficiency Declaration’ is a government response to safeguard the commercial interests of farmers during very dry periods.

When a state government declared drought zone exists, all large shire-owned fixed standpipes will be made available at concessional rates to the community for drought relief in accordance with the terms of the declaration conditions. If conditions for commercial use relief are not specified then standard rates will apply.

If water carters are hired by farmers to transport water during a drought, this cost is the responsibility of the farmer and water will be available at the concessional rate since the end use is for the farmer.

Where to from here?

The Shire of Westonia will need to reclassify the Standpipes under the new price structure and are asking for any feedback from the Community on how the Regional Fixed Standpipe Review may impact the water availability and the financial impacts to its stakeholders.

If Council does not reclassify each Standpipe, the Water Corp will charge commercial rates which will have a significant financial implication for Council and the Community. Council and the Community will need to take into consideration, the Annual Service Charge applicable to the Standpipes according to the size of the meter size and purpose assigned to the Standpipe. For example, a 50mm Commercial Standpipe will attract an annual fee of $1,658.93 as opposed to the existing $250.39 annual fee.

The other, more significant change as listed above is the extensive increase in the tariff charged per kilolitre.

Current rates across the Shire are $2.39 per kL. The proposal by the Water Corporation is to increase that to between $2.534 and $8.353 per kL.

Council can simply not allow any water to be used from fixed standpipes without charging. This will place too much of a burden on Council resources. The Council has recently resolved (unrelated to this issue) to install standpipe controller that are cost effective and allow Council to monitor the water use at each standpipe and charge accordingly.

The Community must be aware that this new rate and fee structure is purely a decision of the State Government via the WA Water Corporation and not one made by the Council. We will simply be implementing the policy directed to Council by the Water Corporation.

 

The Shire of Westonia now wishes to advertise the WA Water Corporations future intentions in relation to Fixed Standpipes for public comment with comments closing on Monday 15th October 2018. Councils Action Plan will then be required to be submitted to the Water Corporation by 31st October 2018.

Back to All Items