Users welcome cheaper water

Warrnambool mother Rebecca Kimura, with 18-month-old daughter Esther and son Oliver, 3, Premier Denis Napthine and Wannon Water director Russell Worland, will be among those to benefit from a drop in water costs.

Warrnambool mother Rebecca Kimura, with 18-month-old daughter Esther and son Oliver, 3, Premier Denis Napthine and Wannon Water director Russell Worland, will be among those to benefit from a drop in water costs.

WARRNAMBOOL’S Kimura family is among those to receive an average $70 annual reduction in their Wannon Water bills due to the state government’s Fairer Water Bills initiative.

Rebecca Kimura said the price cut was appreciated because the family’s water bills were substantial and the drop in charges would extend over four years.

Premier Denis Napthine said the bill reductions to Wannon Water customers would be delivered from July 1, this year.

Dr Napthine said the reduced water bills were part of the Coalition state government’s commitment to drive down the cost of living pressures on households.

“As part of the Fairer Water Bills, the Victorian Coalition government asked water corporations to provide advice on potential productivity and efficiency gains that could be adopted by their businesses to help deliver lower household water bills,” he said.

Wannon Water had identified capital and operational cost savings without compromising service standards or existing hardship protections that helped vulnerable customers, Dr Napthine said.

He thanked Wannon Water for working with the Office of Living Victoria, and an independent review team led by Professor Graeme Samuel, to save money for customers.

The $70 rebate on water bills each financial year for the next four years will be in addition to the 5.9 per cent average real reduction in prices that Wannon Water has committed to deliver from 2013-2018.

Wannon Water managing director Grant Green said it was able to provide the rebate through savings achieved by implementing innovative renewable energy projects such as using wind and wave energy.

Mr Green said it had also reduced its capital costs program by about $15 million by working smarter. Some of the capital cost savings were gained by reducing Wannon Water’s plans to increase its water storage capacity, he said.

Discussions with the Environment Protection Authority had enabled Wannon Water to provide environmental flows to a number of water courses in areas such as Heywood and Cobden rather than store the water, Mr Green said.

The government’s Fairer Water Bills initiative also includes a review of the economic regulation and governance of the Victorian water sector to keep water bills as low as possible.

ehimmelreich@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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