Department of Energy and Water Supply

Bulk water prices

In South East Queensland (SEQ)

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).

In SEQ, there are 11 Local Council areas. Water and sewerage services are provided by your local council for Logan, Redland and the Gold Coast. For the remaining eight SEQ council areas, they are supplied by two distributor-retailers:

  • Queensland Urban Utilities supplies businesses and residents in Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, and Somerset local council areas, and
  • Unitywater supplies businesses and residential customers in Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast and Noosa local council areas.

Local Council water businesses, Queensland Urban Utilities and Unitywater all buy their treated bulk water from Seqwater, the Queensland Government's bulk water authority. The prices you pay for water and sewerage services are made up of two components:

  • distribution, retail and sewerage charges: set by your local council water business, Queensland Urban Utilities or Unitywater
  • bulk water charges: the wholesale price that Seqwater charges and appears on your bill as the 'state bulk water charge' or similar.

This guide explains how bulk water prices are set in SEQ, and provides bulk water price information for all SEQ Local Council areas.

How bulk water prices are set

The SEQ 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.

Seqwater, the bulk water supplier for SEQ for which the State is responsible, manages water supply assets and the natural catchments of the region's major water supply sources. This includes dams, weirs, conventional water treatment plants and climate resilient sources of water from the Gold Coast Desalination Plant and the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme.  A 600 kilometre reverse flow pipeline network that enables drinking water to be transported across the Sunshine Coast to Greater Brisbane, to Redland and south to the Gold Coast. This interconnected grid for bulk water supply ensures greater water supply for SEQ and the pipelines are able to move water throughout the region as needed.

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

Review of SEQ bulk water prices

The QCA is an independent statutory authority that provides independent economic advice to the Government. In April 2015, the QCA published a report recommending SEQ bulk water prices for 2015 to 2018.

As part of its review, the QCA considered capital and operating costs to ensure that Seqwater's forecast costs are prudent and efficient..

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 Seqwater's operational and capital costs were lower than previously forecast.

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

2015-18 SEQ bulk water prices

In June 2015, the Queensland Government announced SEQ bulk water prices for 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018. These prices were set in accordance with the State Government's 10 year price path policy, noting the Government recently approved for the Redland, Sunshine Coast and Noosa councils having an extra two years to reach the 'common bulk water price.'

The price movements  for 2015-16 vary across councils, depending on whether their current bulk water prices are above or below the forecast common price.

The 2015–16 changes compared to 2014-15 are:

  • price decreases: Somerset (–10.3%), Logan (–6.7%), Scenic Rim (–5.8%), Lockyer Valley (–2.2%), Gold Coast (–1.3%), Moreton Bay (–0.04%)
  • price increases: Redland (+10.2%), Sunshine Coast (+8.2%), Noosa (+8.2%), Ipswich (+4.5%), Brisbane (+4.4%).

Find out more

Find out more about your water and sewerage bill by contacting your local council or distributor-retailer:

Local council water suppliers in the rest of Queensland 

Outside SEQ, local councils are responsible for managing local water supplies, and for setting prices for water and sewerage services.

We will be publishing a report that compares the performance of all Queensland water providers. The comparative report will allow customers to check the performance of their provider (in providing water and sewerage services) against other providers. This transparency will provide an incentive for improved performance.

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) is the peak body representing all 77 local councils in Queensland and leads the development of policy and strategy on behalf of councils at a state-wide level.

Last updated:
12 February 2016
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