Draft decisions on recycled water prices for public water utilities

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is seeking feedback on its draft decisions on the pricing framework for recycled water schemes.

This is the first review since 2006.

This review looks at the pricing arrangements that apply to recycled water, sewer mining and stormwater harvesting services provided by public water utilities and the pricing methodology for recycled water developer charges.

Recycled water developer charges are upfront charges that public water utilities levy on developers. They recover part of the costs of providing recycled water services to new developments (or redevelopments). Specifically, they recover any costs the public water utility does not recover from recycled water customers or the broader customer base. Holding all else constant, recycled water developer charges send signals to developers about the cost of development in different locations.

As Winter approaches, with triple the likelihood of El Niño forming, water levels in the upper Hunter are of concern depite recent heavy rain. Glenbawn is at 54%, Glennies Creek at 56%, and Lostock is 88%. Satisfactory levels in the lower Hunter have Grahamstown and Tomago at 71% and Chichester 85% full.


In coming to its draft decisions, IPART has considered stakeholder feedback provided in response to its Issues Paper and at a Public Hearing.

IPART Chair Dr Paul Paterson said our draft decisions establish a pricing framework that is flexible and administratively simple to implement, and which promotes efficient investment in, and uptake of, recycled water.

We address stakeholder submissions by recognising the broader benefits of recycled water, while protecting customers from unwarranted price increases” he said.

In particular, our draft framework would allow the costs of recycled water schemes to be considered in the context of the system-wide outcomes they achieve” Dr Paterson said.

We recognise the cost savings recycled water can deliver from delaying or averting the need for augmentation of a public water utility’s network. We also recognise the potential for environmental, health, and liveability benefits from recycled water schemes.”

IPART has also addressed the recommendations set out in the Infrastructure NSW review of regulatory barriers to cost-effective water recycling.

IPART is seeking comments on the Draft Report for recycled water prices and Draft Determination for recycled water developer charges. Submissions are due by 26 April 2019 and will be considered before IPART’s Final Report and Determination are released in late June 2019.