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Bureau reports on water utilities’
The annual report comparing Australia’s urban water utilities’
pricing structures and service quality released today showed
that the median annual volume of residential water supplied
fell by three per cent in 2014–5 to 179 kilolitres per property,
despite drier-than-usual conditions.
The ‘National Performance Report 2014–15: urban water
utilities’ details water resources, finance, pricing, assets,
health, environment and customer numbers information
collected from 80 water utilities and councils, and seven
bulk water suppliers.
The Bureau’s Assistant Director Water Information Services
Dr Ian Prosser says surface water remains the dominant
source of water in Australia, but there was a 13 per cent
increase in recycled water supplied by medium to large
utilities, including many large regional utilities and councils.
‘This increase reflects the reduced availability of surface
water and the need to diversify supply sources in the face
of growing demand. This year, we have also seen the end
of increases to national median water supply to residential
properties, following the end of the Millennium Drought and
the associated easing of water restrictions.
‘This may be linked to temperatures in 2014–15 not being
as extreme as in previous years, although they were above
average. The plateau in water use is positive for Australia,’
Dr Prosser says.
The national median typical residential bill for water and
sewerage rose by four per cent in 2014–15, increasing to
$1299 in 2014–15 from $1255 in 2013–14.
Australian urban water utilities spent $3.022 billion on
water supply and sewerage services in 2014–15, a four per
cent ($126 million) decrease from the previous year.
The median combined operating expenditure, on a dollar-
per-property basis, fell five per cent to $850 per property in
2014–15, down from $892 in 2013–14.
Water benefits set to flow in Tasmanian Southern
Farmers in Tasmania’s Southern Highlands will soon feel the
benefits of major infrastructure investment, after the Australian
and Tasmanian governments agreed on the final details of a
$31 million water infrastructure project in the region.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water
Resources Barnaby Joyce, and Tasmanian Minister for Primary
Industries and Water Jeremy Rockliff, have signed off on project
details for the Southern Highlands Irrigation Scheme.
‘This project will deliver significant benefits for farmers in
Tasmania’s Southern Highlands, and will go a long way to securing
water supply in the region for years to come,’ says Minister Joyce.
‘Secure water for irrigation reduces uncertainty and reliance on
rainfall, and maximises productive capacity per hectare.
‘This stability breeds confidence and triggers more investment in
agriculture in the region, including in new and emerging crops that
need reliable access to water for irrigation.
‘Building water infrastructure is a forward-thinking, futureproofing
investment that delivers benefits to agriculture, communities and
the environment – that’s why we are committed to investing $2 for
every dollar the state government is investing in these projects.’
Drought concessional loans now available to
Northern Territory pastoralists and farmers
Drought-affected pastoralists and farmers in the Northern
Territory can now apply for drought concessional loans
under the 2015–16 round of the scheme.
‘In 2015–16, the Australian Government is making
$10 million in loans available to Northern Territory
pastoralists and farmers to help them deal with the effects
of drought,’ says Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for
Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce.
‘Drought is one of the most significant challenges faced by
our agriculture sector, and we are committed to delivering
practical support when and where it’s most needed.
‘Under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper,
we are making sure farmers and pastoralists have more
certainty about the support they can access during drought
by providing access to drought-related concessional loans
‘We have also committed up to $250 million nationally each
year for a new, more flexible and streamlined concessional
loans product that will be available for 10 years from
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