Australian households may pay higher water bills by 2040, as costs would increase to an estimated $2,500 per year, according to an Infrastructure Australia (IA) report.
The report noted that the significant amount of expenses for maintaining old infrastructure, climate change and a rising population would be some of the factors for the increase. As early as now, water systems should be equipped with new systems and tools, including the new blue line poly pipe products.
Infrastructure upgrades only form part of broader reforms that are necessary to maintain a safe and stable supply of drinking water, said Infrastructure Australia CEO Philip Davies. A ‘new national urban water reform plan’ should spearhead the campaign to implement changes, he added.
IA also floated the idea of privatising state-owned water utilities to reduce costs, but this seems unlikely to gain support from the public. Economists also remain sceptical over the possibility of lower utility bills post-privatisation. Still, University of Queensland economist John Quiggin described the report as a compelling one, as it urges state governments to conduct sweeping reforms before selling off water supply businesses.
The report suggested the establishment of a national reform plan by the end of next year. An independent group will enforce the changes and use incentive payments to roll out the reforms. Another suggestion involves regulatory and government reviews of state governments within a five-year period.
These reforms will be important, as the country’s population will increase to 30 million by 2030. Most of the population will live in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, which will definitely need a higher supply of water than anywhere else.
Australia needs to think of several ways to improve its water infrastructure, especially since consumers will likely bear the brunt of higher costs in the future.