Melbourne water bills set to double

Water bills are set to double in the Australian city of Melbourne as authorities seek to pay for investment in major infrastructure projects.

The city's authorities aim to plough AU$5bn into project over the next four years which will increase supply, reduce leaks and boost the use of recycled water.

Specific projects include the upgrading of a water recycling plant so that it can provide 100bn litres of water, provision of a desalination plant and improvements to irrigation systems in the north of the state.

Water Minister Tim Holding said the record investment in water projects was vital as Melbourne faces the challenges of ongoing drought and the impact of climate change.

"The Brumby Government and water authorities are investing to boost water supplies and deliver water security to Melbourne households, business and industry," Mr Holding said.

"Increasing the price of water bills is necessary to fund water and sewerage infrastructure across Melbourne and to cater for a growing population."

He said he was pleased that water authorities had reduced their pricing proposals to meet the Government's commitment on water bills.

"When announcing the Victorian Water Plan including Australia's largest Desalination Plant, Sugarloaf Pipeline and the Food Bowl Modernisation Project we indicated that average water bills should not more than double over five years in real terms," he said.

"We had to reject the original pricing proposals from water retailers last year and put in place a 14.8% increase for one year and asked the water retailers to re-assess their pricing plans to reduce the impact on household water bills.

"I am pleased that the latest water plans will ensure average water bills will not more than double in real terms over the pricing period."

Until now, Melbourne the typical water bill in Melbourne has been lower than those in other major Australian cities.

Sam Bond



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