OccasionalPaper WSAA No 3

December 1997




Thisreport presents the results from a survey of consumer water costs in urbancentres within Australia and overseas. The study endeavours to realisticallycompare residential water prices between cities and match water prices againstother living costs. The factors that were taken into account include therelative purchasing power of national currency, water pricing systems andsignificant factors that can affect water supply costs.


Thetypical cost per property for water in Australian capital cities is similar tooverseas countries (approximately $260 per year). However, water consumption ishigher and cost structure is noticeably different. The fixed service charge fora water service is usually much lower in overseas cities ($74 compared to about$122 in Australia) whereas metered consumption charges (pay-for-use) aretypically twice the rates charged in Australia. In general, water costs inEuropean cities are higher than in Australia.


Regionalcentres around Australia tend to have higher annual water costs and higherconsumption than in major metropolitan areas, however price per volume($/kilolitre) is more likely to be a little lower.


Thecost of water in some areas can be noticeably affected by the location,availability and quality of water sources, especially where pumping costs orlevels of treatment are extraordinary.


Copiesof the Report are available from WSAA, price $A40. Orders may be placed throughthe Bookshop at or by email to