CENTRAL Highlands Water users have been given a reprieve with the announcement that prices for 2014-15 will only increase with CPI.
It is happy news for customers after the corporation unsuccessfully tried to increase prices by 8.5 per cent last year. The move was knocked back by the Essential Services Commission.
At the launch of the corporate plan yesterday, CHW managing director Paul O’Donohue said it was a major goal for the organisation to stay in surplus this year while continuing to implement the state government’s Fairer Water Bills initiative, which came into effect on July 1, and infrastructure projects. Under the initiative, the corporation will look at reducing the cost of living pressures by cutting the fixed water access fee and freezing it for the next four years, as well as giving customers more control over their total water costs.
Its infrastructure projects included the continued development of Living Ballarat projects that include the Ballarat West Aquifer Storage and Recovery project, as well as the $18 million capital works program that will see the Ballarat South Wastewater Treatment Plan upgraded over the next four years and improvements to water quality at Maryborough.
“Our reservoirs are at about 80 per cent capacity, which is good for this time of year, and may grow more with good spring rainfall,” Mr O’Donohue said.
The corporation will now hand over its plan to the government for approval and Mr O’Donohue said he would not expect anything in the plan to be reviewed.
Water corporation chairman Jeremy Johnson said the body was not as constrained as it was six years ago when Victoria was in drought.
“Now we’re able to plan for the future,” Mr Johnson said.
CHW provides services to more than 130,000 residents across more than 60 localities.