Water price hike here to stay to ‘encourage responsible use’
SOUTH Burnett Regional Council are standing by their decision to raise the price of standpipe water by 150 per cent, despite sparking public outrage.
In a fact sheet released this week, the price hike is attributed to a lack of restrictions placed on how much water can be taken from a standpipe - particularly while supply restrictions are in place.
According to the document, since the use of standpipe water is primarily managed through pricing, the increase from $4.10 to $10 will encourage ‘responsible use’ of the precious resource and ensure that the water is used for ‘essential’ domestic purposes only.
The justification for the severity of the increase has been broken down into four key points:
1. Ensuring that standpipes enable rural communities to access water in times of need for ‘domestic use only’.
2. Protect water security and reliability by ensuring that standpipe water is not used to as a continual and substantiative water supply for rural households.
3. Create a price point that encourages self restriction and ensures people only take what they need to live.
4. And create a fair price point that achieves all of the above.
The reasoning for the proposal had previously been sited as an attempt to resolve the price disparity between the standpipes and the town water supply.
The steep rise has been widely criticised by those who rely on standpipe water. South Burnett Regional Council Mayor Brett Otto has since apologised for failing to consult members of the community prior to the proposal, which was passed in a six to one vote back in June.
Councillor Kathy Duff was the sole holdout, attributing her decision to the drought, the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, and the challenge of the Hivesville standpipe. The price of water from the Hivesville standpipe will stand firm at $10 per kilolitre, despite it not being potable.
Mayor Otto vowed to reopen the matter, however, it is yet to be confirmed whether the matter will be addressed at todays council meeting.