A lot of work goes into delivering clean water to your home, which is an effort we don’t really think much about, but we do pay for drinking, cooking, showering and washing.
Water is a vital resource, so understanding the costs involved and knowing more about what goes into town water supply and delivery is pivotal to helping your household reduce annual water costs as well as lessen the impact water use has on the environment.
This article is designed to explore the average water bills in Brisbane as well as the Australian average per household to provide insights into what factors contribute to the cost, as well as how you can start to save.
The table here shows the average water bills for the whole of Australia. The average is taken from information provided by 600 homeowners in January 2023.
|Number of People per household||Australian Average Quarterly (3 month) Water Bill||Australian Average Yearly Water Bill|
Source: Canstar Blue survey, January 2023.
While some parts of your water supply and treatment are fixed, you can have a say in how much water you use. It is important to note that water usage is a significant factor in determining the cost of a water bill. The more water a household uses, the higher the bill will be.
Understanding how to conserve water can help reduce the cost of water bills in Brisbane and allow residents to make informed decisions about their water usage and budget accordingly.
Who sets Brisbane’s water price?
Water supply and management in Brisbane is owned by the Queensland government. They are responsible for delivering clean drinking water, managing wastewater and maintaining proper sewage treatment. Because of the monopoly on water ownership and service delivery, it would be a conflict of interest for the Queensland government to also set water prices, which is why Brisbane’s water price is regulated by an independent Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).
The QCA is responsible for regulating water prices and sewerage services to determine the maximum prices that water retailers can charge their customers.
Prices are reviewed annually to make sure they are in alignment with supply and demand. The price review process involves a detailed analysis of the costs and revenues of water retailers, the needs and expectations of customers as well as any changes in the costs of raw water, treatment and distribution.
Once the QCA has set the maximum prices, it is up to each council retailer to decide how much of a charge to pass to their customers. Water retailers may choose to charge less than the maximum price set by the QCA, but they cannot charge more.
How Water Prices are Determined in Brisbane
Almost all of the local providers in Brisbane buy treated bulk water from Seqwater, the Queensland Government’s bulk water authority. The price is partly determined by the costs of operating this service as well as maintaining water quality standards.
- Water storage infrastructure and maintenance
- Government regulations
- Demand versus supply
Water prices in Brisbane are further determined by costs to then supply and remove water to and from your home, including the cost of providing water services, including
- Pipe lining and maintenance costs
- Staffing costs
- Treatment costs
- Household usage and population
Individual homes may also see differences or fluctuations in prices based on their region as well as the season. Other homes may use more or less water depending on the property type (unit, house, garden and pool) as well as the number of bathrooms and the number of people residing in the home, which will increase the water use volume.
As well as water priced by the volume you use, measured in kiloliters (kL) at your metre, there are also fixed charges homeowners pay for water delivery and removal. These charges will occur regardless of how much, or how little water the property needs in a billing period.
Flexible water price
Because of the limited water supply in Brisbane and an ever-growing population, there are incentives in place to help encourage customers to limit their water consumption.
The flexible Water price use is broken into two tiers. The first is for water use up to 822L per day. Considering the average person uses 169 litres per day, this Tier 1 pricing should easily apply to homes with up to 4 to 5 people.
Tier 2 is applied to any volume of water used over the 822L per day amount at a considerably higher cost.
Current Water Price in Brisbane
The current water price in Brisbane is calculated based on the cost of providing water supply and wastewater services to the community. The cost includes operating and maintaining water infrastructure, treatment plants and reservoirs.
This table shows the current water prices Brisbane homeowners will see on their bills from 1 July 2023.
|Water Charges to Brisbane Households 2023-2024|
|Price||SEQ Bulk Water|
|$3.37 per kilolitre|
|Water Usage||Tier 1 Usage (up to 822L per day) $0.838 per kilolitre
Tier 2 Usage (over 822L per day) $1.742 per kilolitre
|Fixed Water Service||$0.647 per day|
|Fixed Sewerage Service||$1.795 per day|
Water service providers who use Seqwater charge the wholesale bulk price under the: State bulk water charge. In this case, there will be an additional charge added to supply water to the home. Both these charges are set by kilolitre (1,000 litres) of use and are taken from the metre reading conducted shortly before each quarterly bill is sent out.
Bulk water charges are not subject to the Flexible Pricing Tiers.
Average Water Bills in Brisbane
Brisbane is known for its hot and humid climate, which means that water usage is an important issue for residents.
For an average Brisbane household using 169 litres a day, that equates to 160kL a year of water use (based on 2.5 people in the home).
|Service Provided||Charge for use||Annual Total|
|Bulk water||$3.37 x 160||$539|
|Tier 1||$0.838 x 160||$137|
|Fixed Water||$0.647 x 365||$236|
|Fixed Sewerage||$1.795 x 365||$655|
|Total Annual Bill||$1,567|
The average use for a Brisbane home using 160kL of water a year is $1,567 a year (or roughly $391 per quarterly bill, which is above the national average, even without the Tier 2 price penalty.
Average Water Bills by Household Size
According to everyday users completing a Canstar Blue survey, the average water bills per quarter by household size are shown here by quarterly bill.
|Number of People per household||Australian Average Quarterly Water Bill|
Source: Canstar Blue survey, January 2023.
Understanding Your Water Bill
Your water bill is broken down into different components, similar to those listed in the table above for an average 160kL a year home. These breakdowns make it easier to see what you are being charged for, and where you can reduce your bills.
A typical water bill in Brisbane for a three-month period will include the following components and the payment rates and usage for each:
- Service Charges: These are fixed charges that cover the cost of maintaining and delivering water to your property as well as sewage treatment and removal.
- Usage Charges: These are variable charges that are based on the amount of water you use both for bulk water use and council delivery charges including any Tier 2 costs for additional water use
- Other Charges: These can include overdue amounts, fees for late payment, metre installation and more.
Understanding Your Usage
It can be helpful to track your water usage over time to help identify trends and changes in your usage, which can then help you make adjustments to reduce your water consumption and save money on your bill.
It is important to note that Brisbane has a tiered pricing system for water usage. This means that the more water you use, the higher your usage charges will be. By being mindful of your water usage, you can avoid reaching the higher tiers and save money on your bill.
How to Save Money on Your Water Bill
Saving money on your water bill is a great way to reduce household expenses. A Qualified Plumber can help find and fix issues.
Here are some places to get started:
- Fix Leaks: Leaks can waste a lot of water and add up to a high water bill. Check your pipes, faucets, and toilets for leaks regularly and fix them as soon as possible.
- Use Water-Saving Devices: Low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators and dual-flush toilets can help reduce your water usage.
- Use Water Wisely: Be mindful of your water usage and avoid wasting water. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, take shorter showers and only run your washing machine and dishwasher when you have a full load.
- Collect Rainwater: Use collected rainwater to water your plants and garden instead of using tap water.
- Choose Drought-Tolerant Plants: Drought-tolerant plants require less water and can still look beautiful in your garden.
- Monitor your water usage: You can use a water metre or compare your water bills to see if you are using more water than usual.
The average water bill in Brisbane varies depending on the size of the household and the amount of water used. Water bills in Brisbane are generally higher than in other cities in Australia due to the city’s subtropical climate and high water usage.
Saving money on your water bill in Brisbane is possible with a few simple changes to your water usage habits. Fixing leaks, installing water-saving devices, using water wisely and monitoring your water usage can help you reduce your water usage and lower your water bill.
Furthermore, it is worth noting that the water pricing structure in Brisbane is designed to encourage water conservation. This means that households that use excessive amounts of water will be charged significantly more than those who conserve water.
By being mindful of their water usage, households in Brisbane can reduce their water bills and contribute to the sustainability of the city’s water resources.man w