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Bulk water prices

In South East Queensland (SEQ), water and sewerage services are provided to you by local council water businesses. Council water businesses buy their treated bulk water from the Queensland Government's bulk water authority, Seqwater.

The prices you pay for water and sewerage are made up of 2 major components:

  • distribution, retail and sewerage charges - set by your local council water business
  • bulk water charges - the wholesale price that Seqwater charges to your council water business and that they pass on to you. It appears on your bill as the 'state bulk water charge' or similar.

This guide explains how bulk water prices are set and reviewed, and provides bulk water price information for all SEQ local government areas.

How bulk water prices are set

The bulk water price is set by the Queensland Government. The government's latest price decision, for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018, is consistent with recommendations of the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).

Until 2008, bulk water supply in SEQ was mostly a local council responsibility, with each council area setting its own prices.

When the Queensland Government took over responsibility for bulk water supply in 2008, it established a 10-year 'price path' of annual price increases to gradually repay debt and achieve a common bulk water price across all SEQ councils.

Because of their different starting prices, each of SEQ's 11 councils has a different price path to reach the common price.

The SEQ bulk water prices are designed to provide Seqwater with sufficient revenue to recover, over time, the costs of providing treated bulk water through its extensive network of dams, water treatment plants and pipelines.

They also cover the cost of financing and repaying debt that Seqwater incurred from selling bulk water at a loss since 2008.

Role of the QCA

The QCA is an independent statutory body that provides advice to the government. In April 2015 the QCA published a final report recommending SEQ bulk water prices for 2015 to 2018.

As part of its review, the QCA reviewed capital and operating costs to ensure that Seqwater's forecast costs are genuinely required and as low as possible.

The QCA conducted an open process for its review that included public submissions from industry, government and the community.

The QCA published its recommended bulk water prices for SEQ for 2015-18 in April 2015. It recommended a 12% lower common price in 2017-18 than in the last review (2013), because of Seqwater's lower operational and capital costs.

The QCA also recommended that the Redland, Sunshine Coast and Noosa council areas be given a 2-year extension, so that they reach the common price by 2019-20 rather than by 2017-18.

You can read about the QCA's review in its final report on Seqwater bulk water prices 2015-18.

2015-18 prices

In June 2015, the government announced SEQ bulk water prices for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018.

The price changes vary across councils, depending on whether their current bulk water prices are above or below the forecast common price.

The 2015–16 price changes are:

  • price decreases: Somerset (–10.3%), Logan (–6.7%), Scenic Rim (–5.8%), Lockyer Valley (–2.1%), Gold Coast (–1.2%), Moreton Bay (–0.03%)
  • price increases: Redland (+10.2%), Sunshine Coast (+8.2%), Noosa (+8.2%), Ipswich (+4.5%), Brisbane (+4.4%).

Bulk water prices by council area

Bulk water prices for SEQ councils ($/megalitres)

Council 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18
Brisbane $2,302 $2,547 $2,658 $2,748 $2,817
Gold Coast $2,470 $2,715 $2,681 $2,748 $2,817
Ipswich $2,238 $2,483 $2,594 $2,706 $2,817
Lockyer Valley $2,495 $2,740 $2,681 $2,748 $2,817
Logan $2,628 $2,873 $2,681 $2,748 $2,817
Moreton Bay $2,437 $2,682 $2,681 $2,748 $2,817
Redland $1,717 $1,962 $2,162$2,361      $2,561
Scenic Rim $2,602 $2,847 $2,681 $2,748 $2,817
Somerset $2,872 $2,988 $2,681 $2,748 $2,817
Sunshine Coast and Noosa $1,855 $2,100 $2,272 $2,444 $2,616

Bulk water prices ($/household using 200 kilolitres per year)

Council 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18
Brisbane $460 $509 $532 $550 $563
Gold Coast $494 $543 $536 $550 $563
Ipswich $448 $497 $519 $541 $563
Lockyer Valley $499 $548 $536 $550 $563
Logan $526 $575 $536 $550 $563
Moreton Bay $487 $536 $536 $550 $563
Redland $343 $392 $432 $472 $512
Scenic Rim $520 $569 $536 $550 $563
Somerset $574 $598 $536 $550 $563
Sunshine Coast and Noosa $371 $420 $454 $489 $523

Note: Figures are based on a household using 200kL of water a year (equivalent to 3 people using 180 litres a day each).

Further information

Last updated
26 June 2015