There’s some good news for Riverina ratepayers feeling the pinch with the promise that affordable water prices will continue.
Riverina Water’s access charge will remain at $160 per annum for the fourth year straight. This comes as a relief for locals across the region feeling pressure from the rising cost of living.
According to recent national research, 51 per cent of the Australian population will struggle to pay an essential bill in the next three months.
Independent Member for Wagga Dr Joe McGirr said the unchanged access charges is great news.
“People will welcome it”, said Dr McGirr.
“Riverina Water is committed to providing safe and reliable drinking water at the lowest sustainable cost,” Riverina Water chairperson Cr Tim Koschel said.
“Our access fee was almost $20 cheaper than the state median in 2019/20 and we are proposing to keep that fee the same in 2022/23.”
Riverina Water County Council has released the 2022/23 draft budget and proposed a modest increase of 1.5 per cent, which is about an $8 increase on a typical yearly residential water bill.
“An affordable access charge means people can budget for the fixed costs and have greater control of their bill through managing their water usage,” said Cr Koschel.
Over the next four years, the county council plans to invest more than $79 million into capital works.
In 2022/23, $5.67 million will be spent on mains, services and meters, $4.83 million on treatment plant costs and $875,000 on reservoirs.
Dr McGirr also welcomed the new proposed investments by the county council.
“As Wagga grows, we are going to need to increase the access to water.
“We should congratulate them on effort,” he said.
Cr Koschel said it is no small feat to reinvest almost $80 million over the next four years on the region’s network and infrastructure while keeping the fees and charges affordable.
He said this also reflects the strong strategic direction of Riverina Water.
The draft Development Servicing Plan for Water Supply has also been placed on public exhibition with a proposed charge reduction.
The draft four-year Delivery Program and 2022/23 Operational Plan and the draft Development Servicing Plan for Water Supply can be read on the Riverina Water website.