Worried that you are paying more for your water than you should? If you live in Brisbane and pay anywhere around $350 for your water and sewerage, then this guide can help you save money on your next Urban Utilities bill.

We’ve gathered data from the government authorities that deliver water to your home to identify what you pay for and why.  This takes into account:-

Let’s take a look…

Example of Queensland Urban Utilities quarterly water and sewerage bill
Source: Urban Utilities

Understanding the Cost Components of Your Brisbane Water & Sewerage Bill

This article discusses the normal water and sewerage costs listed on page two of your Urban Utilities bill.

We do not delve into late payment fees or additional costs that may apply to Urban Utilities outside of Brisbane.

If you are a property owner, it is also important to note that these changes currently apply to vacant land.

From 1 October 2021, water and sewerage charges will only apply where services are available and connected to the network.

Water Consumption (Tiered Price Per Kilolitre)

Your Urban Utilities water bill includes two fees based on your water consumption.

  1. State Bulk Water Charge covers the cost to purchase treated water from Seqwater.
  2. Consumption Charge contributes to maintaining water quality and delivering water to your property. Tiered pricing designed to incentivise water efficiency means that the more you use, the more you pay.

In both cases, water usage is charged per kilolitre (1kL = 1,000 litres) and is based on your water meter reading. The cost will vary each quarter based on the amount of water used and the number of days billed.

Water Service (Fixed Price Per Day)

Urban Utilities charge a fixed daily fee to be connected to the water supply network. This cost helps to pay for installing, maintaining, and upgrading the infrastructure used to treat and transport clean drinking water to your property. Your water service fee is paid in advance.

Sewerage Service (Fixed Price Per Day)

Urban Utilities charge a fixed daily fee to be connected to the sewerage network. This cost helps to pay for sewage treatment and ongoing maintenance of the wastewater network that removes sewage from your home or business. Your sewerage service fee is paid in advance.

For a more detailed breakdown of your Urban Utilities water and sewerage, bill click here.

Brisbane Water & Sewerage Pricing (2021 – 2022)

1 January – 30 September 20211 October – 30 June 2022
State bulk water price Per kL Per kL
  $3.122 $3.231 
Tiered consumption charges Per kL Per kL
Tier 1 up to 74kL per Q$0.818$0.838
Tier 2 from 74kL per Q$1.649$1.741
Water service charge Per Day Per Day
  $0.637$0.649
Sewerage service charge Per Day Per Day
Brisbane$1.534$1.547

Table: Brisbane’s current (2021) and future (2021-2022) water and sewerage pricing as charged by Urban Utilities

Whether or not you already side with the 48% of Queensland bill-payers that believe the average they pay is too much, the good news is there is a significant opportunity to reduce the cost of your water and sewerage bills in terms of reducing waste.

The not so good news is that using current data we calculated the average water and wastewater bill in Brisbane to be around $360.

This cost represents about $220 for water service and usage charges plus $140 for your connection to the sewerage network. And come 1 October 2021 the price you pay will increase.

People In HouseholdkL Per DaykL Per QCost ($) Per dayWater Use ($)Fixed cost ($)Water Only ($)Water & Sewerage
10.14913.559$0.59$53.42$57.97$111.39$250.98
20.29827.118$1.17$106.85$57.97$164.81$304.41
30.44740.677$1.76$160.27$57.97$218.24$357.83
40.59654.236$2.35$213.70$57.97$271.66$411.26
50.74567.795$3.55$323.45$57.97$381.42$521.01

Table: Estimated average cost of water and sewerage in Brisbane based on most recent reported average consumption of 149l per person, per day

We base this calculation on:-

  • Seqwater reported (June 2021) Brisbane average per person use of 149L per day.
  • Average household size of 2.7 people, rounded up to three people.
  • Single network connection.
  • 91 day quarter.

You may have read that the average water bill for Queensland is $300. This estimate of the average is based on research by Canstar Blue in May 2020, which placed us at the higher end of the cost scale.

That research shows that similarly warm Western Australia pays on average only $234 per quarter, which equates to an annual savings of more than $250 compared to our average cost here.

Our Southern neighbours in NSW also save more than $200 per annum than we do, but of course, many factors play into pricing.

StateAverage Quarterly Water Bill
Western Australia$234
New South Wales$246
Victoria$259
Queensland$300
South Australia$324
Tasmania$365
  
 Source: Canstar Blue

Table: Lists average water bills for six Australian states

Our total per kilolitre (kL) price range ($3.94 – $4.77) is significantly higher than in Sydney ($2.35 – $3.18), so one factor is that we pay more for our water. Which begs the question, who determines the price of your water?

Brisbane’s Water Supply Network

Queensland water supply network diagram showing Seqwater as the bulk water supplier to Council owned water distributor-retailer Queensland Urban Utilities who supplies water and sewerage services to the Brisbane residential and business customers.
Source: Urban Utilities

Seqwater SOE

Setting the pricing that filters down to our homes and business’ are Seqwater, a Queensland Government Statutory Authority responsible for the catchment, storage and transportation, treatment and security of Queensland’s bulk drinking water supply.

Seqwater was stablished in 2012 by legislative reform that abolished the Queensland Water Commission and amalgamated several water utilities into a state-owned bulk water entity.

Seqwater sells water to local council-owned water distributor-retailers and council water distributors.  And as seen from the pricing information above, the bulk of the price you pay per kL (currently $3.122) funds the state’s role in the Supply network. It’s a position reminiscent of a Hasbro board game wherein you buy and sell property…

Queensland Urban Utilities – Brisbane Distributor Retailer

Brisbane City Council and several other councils are the shareholders of Queensland Urban Utilities, one of the largest water distributor-retailers in Australia delivering water and wastewater services to customers in Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset Council areas.

They are responsible for delivering treated drinking water and recycled water services and collecting and treating sewerage. They charge for their services to all properties (even when vacant) connected to the water and sewerage network.

Modern Urban Wastewater Treatment Plant

You The Rates Payers

As a Brisbane City Council ratepayer, you will receive a water and wastewater account from Urban Utilities in addition to your rates account.  However, rather than contacting Council, you should contact Queensland Urban Utilities for any of the following:-

  • recycled water
  • trade waste
  • water and sewerage charges
  • design and connections
  • Dial Before You Dig service
  • water approvals
  • water quality and treatment
  • metered standpipes and fire hydrants
  • pressure and leakage management
  • burst mains, water
  • sewage leaks or overflow

For general enquiries phone Urban Utilities on 13 26 57.  For faults, emergencies or health hazards, call 13 23 64.

Government involvement aside, the problem of wastewater remains.

On average, Brisbane generates 95 litres of greywater per person per day across bathroom and laundry water. Around two-thirds of all the water you pay for gets washed down the drain – 95L every day.

The easiest way to change what you pay for water is to reduce the water you waste.

7 Sure Way to Save Water & Reduce Costs

  1. Short showers save water. A water-efficient showerhead using  10 litres of water per minute creates 50 litres of wastewater in five minutes. Double your time to 10 minutes, and your daily average of 95l of wastewater is down the drain in one shower.
  2. Replace old fixtures with new, water-efficient ones. The blue, six-star water rating label can help you compare water efficiency across different items – the more stars, the less water it will waste.
  3. Repair leaking taps. A dripping faucet can waste upwards of 50 litres of water a day, which in a family of 5 could push you up into tier two pricing.
  4. Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth. Don’t be those people who turn the water on and just let it waste away while brushing their teeth.
  5. Only run your dishwashers and clothes washing machines with full loads, especially true for top-loading washing machines. Use the eco settings, where available.
  6. Dual Flush or No flush options, enough said…
  7. Recycle greywater from your laundry for watering gardens in the hot summer months.

If you’re interested in reducing your cost of water bills in Brisbane, the team at National Plumbing and Gas Brisbane are here to help. With over 25 years of industry experience, our team of qualified plumbers are happy to help you select and install water-efficient fixtures and can repair leaking taps and toilets in no time.