Icon Water has released a five-year proposal, which commits $700 million to renew and upgrade its critical water and wastewater infrastructure in the Australian Capital Territory.
Icon Water’s price proposal is for water and wastewater services in the Australian Capital Territory for the five-year regulatory period from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2028.
The proposal, submitted to the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission, outlines the investments necessary for Icon Water to continue providing reliable water and wastewater services to its community.
It also responds to major factors influencing its operating environment and allows Icon Water to proactively make plans for ageing infrastructure while supporting a growing Australian Capital Territory population and mitigating the effects of climate change.
The proposed investments will result in the combined water and wastewater bill of a typical residential customer using 200kL of water a year increasing by 4.5 per cent, or $1.11 per week.
Icon Water Managing Director, Ray Hezkial, said Icon Water has carefully planned its investments for the next five years to ensure it continues to meet customers’ expectations for service quality, while keeping bill impacts to a minimum over the longer term.
“We have also been very conscious to maintain our focus on planning for long-term water security and levels of service,” Mr Hezkial said.
A significant proportion of the Australian Capital Territory’s water and wastewater assets were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s during a period of rapid expansion in Canberra, including the main wastewater treatment plant and multiple water reservoirs around the city.
Icon Water has been progressively planning for essential upgrades to these core elements and other components of the city’s network and treatment systems.
“We propose a sensible, rigorously assessed investment program that focuses on renewing and upgrading critical infrastructure,” Mr Hezkial said.
“These responsible investments will support continued quality services for our community whilst laying a sustainable platform for future generations.
“Our proposed projects will also help us increase our resilience as a community to increasing climate volatility and support Canberra’s growing population.”
Its 2023-28 Price Proposal has been informed by and refined during extensive consultation with the Australian Capital Territory community.
In 2021, Icon Water launched its customer engagement program – Let’s Talk Water and Wastewater, which involved over 17,500 Canberrans.
Topics canvassed included customer priorities for water security, levels of service, tariffs, innovation, sustainability, liveability and customer service channels.
The Australian Capital Territory community also told Icon Water that affordability should underpin any investment decision.
They support timely investment to maintain services and asked Icon Water to consider support for vulnerable customers and other impacted customer segments.
Icon Water will continue to engage with customers from these cohorts to learn through their lived experiences and seek advice from their advocates, to help review its existing support mechanisms and determine how it can best support customers in the future.
“Icon Water acknowledges the financial pressures affecting Canberrans following recent increases in the cost of living and we will continue to support customers experiencing difficulty paying their bills,” Mr Hezkial said.
“Those same pressures also influence our day-to-day costs of providing essential water and wastewater services to our community.”
The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission will now review and consult on the proposal before setting water and wastewater prices that will apply from 1 July 2023.
More information on the review can be found on the Commission’s website here.
An overview of Icon Water’s price proposal, along with more detailed supporting information, is available on the Icon Water website.