If your residential water bill here in Adelaide is around the average quarterly cost of $135 then there is an opportunity to save money and water in your home, year-round.
Water is a basic survival requirement, yet even here in Adelaide, within the driest state of the planet’s driest continent, many people still take our water supply for granted. People and pets, homes and business, emergency and essential services, all require water. Yet so long as there is work to do to secure and future proof South Australia’s waters supply it is up to every one of us to consciously reduce the amount of drinking water we use and waste on a daily basis.
The current SA Water pricing model provides something of a financial incentive with a three-tiered pricing structure that increases the cost for higher water use. There is also a myriad of other charges associated with the SA Water supply network so in this article, we focus on the average cost of residential water bills, which includes houses, units and retirement homes, flats and strata residences, even vacant land.
|People In Household||Kilolitres (kL) Per Day||Cost ($) Per Day||Water Use ($) 91 Days||Fixed Cost ($) 91 Days||Total Cost ($) 91 Days|
Table 1.1 shows a breakdown of the cost and water use for an average 91-day water bill based on the number of people per household using an average of 190 litres or 0.190 kilolitres of water per day. Average household size of two people is highlighted as indicative of the average cost of Adelaide water bills.
At the time of the last census (2016) the average household in Adelaide had 2.5 people, only slightly higher than the state average of 2.4. To reflect the reality of our homes, we use whole numbers to calculate the average cost per person and the average household size of two people.
And although in reality average water use – per person per day – is significantly lower in winter (95 litres) than in summer (260 litres) to establish an average cost of Adelaide water bills, water use is based on an approximate 12 month average of 190 litres (l) otherwise 0.190 kilolitres (kL), per person per day.
Source: SA Water
Seasonal trends aside, the average Adelaide water bills is around $135 per quarter (91 days). The average Adelaide household with two people should use less than the 383.6 litres (0.3836 kL) per day threshold and incur tier-one charges only – of $1.945 per kilolitre of water used.
Using an average of 190 litres per person per day, it’s not until you have three or more people in your home that household water use is expected to hit 383.7 litres per day at which point the second pricing tier of $2.775 begins. And you would need to have more than seven people in your home using the average of 190 litres per day before tier-three pricing of $3.007 per kilolitre applies for water use above the daily threshold of 1424.7 litres (1.4247 kL).
Residential Water Bills South Australia
Regardless of whether you live in metropolitan Adelaide, regional towns or the hinterland the pricing model applied by SA Water takes into account the cost of providing services statewide so that the majority of us pay the same price per kilolitre (kL) as every other residential customer in the state, regardless of how much it costs to supply the water to your property.
Typical water bills are made up of two charges, a fixed price for water supply plus the cost of the water you use. The good news is that current prices for 2020-21 see lower pricing across all three tiers of water use as well as the fixed water supply charge.
Water Supply, Fixed Charge
The 2020-21 annual charge for having water supplied to your home is $271.40, billed at $67.85 per quarter. Even if you are not connected to the water supply you are billed a rating on abuttal charge, on the basis that the water supply infrastructure is available to service your property now and in the future.
Water Use, Tiered Pricing Rates
The amount you pay for water is determined primarily by the amount of water you use. There are three tiers of pricing for water because although the average quarterly bill is 91 days actual water use is calculated using daily thresholds to account for variations between the number of days per reading on each bill.
|Tier||Use Price Per
|1||$1.945||0 – 383.6||0 – 0.3836|
|2||$2.775||383.6 – 1424.7||0.3836 – 1.4247|
For example, if it was 95 days since your last meter reading, the tier 1 threshold for that quarter’s bill is the daily threshold times the number of days – 0.3836 (kL) x 95 (days) = 36.442 kL – so all water used up to 36.442kL is charged at Tier 1 price. The same approach applies to the other tiers and you can find the date of your meter reads and how much water you used in each tier on page two of your bill. An example water bill is shown below.
Source: SA Water
|1. SA Water contact details||6. Detailed fees and charges|
|2. Amount owed and the due date||7. Your total fees and charges|
|3. Household water use statistics||8. Information for account holders|
|4. Supply and service address||9. Your account number|
|5. Account summary||10. Your payment details|
Seven Sure-Fire Ways to Reduce Water Waste
To better understand how much water you use, consider how you’re using water in and around the home. As a tentative guide to average household water use – we consume the majority of water the bathroom (38%) closely followed by garden and outdoors (37%). The remainder is split between the kitchen (14%) and laundry (11%). Some simple ways to reduce water waste in your home are:-
- As an alternative to running a bath showering should save you water provided you keep them short. If on average people use anywhere upwards of 120 litres per bath versus a water-efficient showerhead using only 9 litres of water per minute (older styles can use 18 litres per minute) then a 12-minute shower will use less water than running a bath. Every minute you shave off the length of your shower saves you money and water.
- Use plugs in sinks. Rather than running water down the drain when say rinsing dishes or washing your hands put the plug in. You can always turn the tap back on again, but you can’t recapture drinking water.
- Fix leaking toilets, pipes and fixtures. A dripping tap can waste upwards of 60 litres of water a day, which in the average household of 2 people is enough to exceed the tier one pricing threshold (0.3836 kL) – by increasing water use from 0.380 kL to 0.386 kL per day.
- Modern whiteware, dishwashers and clothes washing machines are increasingly water-efficient just make sure to wash full loads and use the eco settings, where available.
- Replacing old water fixtures. All new fixtures that use water – dishwashers, washing machines and toilets, showerheads and taps – are required to show the blue, six-star water rating label to help consumers compare the efficiency of different models. The more stars the more efficient the model and the less water it will waste.
- Dual Flush or No flush options – dual flush toilets can save up to half the amount of water used in a single flush. And besides bowel movements, there is also the option to not flush until there is a need to, which may be only every third or fourth use.
- If you can divert and recycle the greywater from your laundry and apply that to gardens potentially you could reduce your water use by up to 10 per cent, which would save the average home $50 or more per annum.
Source: Water Rating
What Next to Save Cost on Your Water Bill?
If replacing older fixtures is on your cost savings “to-do list” remember the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) is available throughout Australia to provide access to fair and affordable loans. No credit checks or fees, interest or charges. To be eligible you must:
- have a health care card/pension card or earn less than $45,000 a year after tax, $60,000 after tax for joint applicants or people with children
- have lived in your current residence for a minimum of 3 months
- show a willingness and capacity to repay the loan
For more eligibility information and to find your nearest loan provider visit the NILS website.
As property owners, you are responsible for maintaining the pipes and fixtures which ensure residents access to clean, fresh drinking water so for any plumbing needs. If you need a plumber, call the team at Precise Services today for honest, upfront advice on how to save water in your home or for to professional help to repair leaking taps and toilets, install new water fixtures or reline cracked or broken water supply pipes.