Help! Just Received a $27,000 Water Bill!

Imagine opening your mail to find a water bill for $27154.83.

We all know water is the basis of all life and an absolute necessity of life, but I’m sure we all agree a $27154.83 water bill is not what anyone would want.

This property is a commercial property where the normal water bill for 6 months is around $4000 and as the exasperated owner said, “why has water got so bloody expensive?”  The very simple answer to that question is that water costs are a direct reflection of appalling state government planning between 1990 and 2007.

Many of us remember when water was essentially free and the only time you got charged for it was if you used excess water over and above the very generous allowance that was paid for as part of your council rates.

However, cheap water is the past. The reality of today is that water is expensive if you use vast quantities for irrigation or have a concealed water leak as in the situation above. We all have to be vigilant in ensuring that the integrity of our household water pipes is maintained at all times. The only guarantee anyone can give you on the cost of water is that it will continually increase every year.

If you live on the Gold Coast or in Logan then water costs are comparable. Have a look at annual costs below:

Water Service Charge $205.74
Sewerage Service Charge $703.34
Water Consumption Charge $3.5167 per k/L
Annual Cost to use 250 k/L of water   $879.18
Annual Service Charges   $909.08
Total Annual Cost $1788.26
Water Service Charge $279.00
Sewerage Service Charge $661.60
Water Consumption Charge $3.5813 per k/L
Annual Cost to use 250 k/L of water   $895.33
Annual Service Charges   $940.60
Total Annual Cost $1835.93

As you can see Logan is marginally more expensive and if you used 250 kilolitres of water then you would pay $47.67 more for living in Logan.

However where a concealed leak has occurred and eligibility criteria have been met Logan is definitely more understanding and generous in their relief on payment over a 3 year period.

Logan City Council allows:

  • a claim once every year
  • provide a reduction of 50% of the difference between the consumption for the billing period and the average of the previous consumption history as recorded by council over the preceding four billing periods

City of Gold Coast allows:

  • a claim once every three years
  • provide a reduction of 60% of the estimated water loss attributed to the concealed leak
  • the water loss through a concealed leak must be in excess of 50 kilolitres
  • relief increases to 85% if you receive a pensioner water subsidy.

So for example if you normally used 250 kilolitres but had two concealed leaks resulting in an increase to 900 kilolitres in a 3 year period, which is not an unusual occurrence then you would receive relief from payment of $2327.84 at Logan but only$1377.51 on the Gold Coast.

As a rule of thumb YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for any water leak after the council meter that is on your property. Therefore I recommend that you at least check your water meter reading every month and seriously consider the installation of an AquaTrip water leak detection and control system.

In reality the convenience of reliable, good quality drinking water from your tap is still inexpensive if you compare it to:

Product Litre Cost Kilolitre Cost
Coca Cola   $2.33   $2330.00
Just Juice   $1.17   $1170.00
Nudie Juice   $2.50   $2500.00
Wolf Blass Yellow Label Shiraz $24.00 $24000.00
Johnie Walker Black Label $71.43 $71430.00
XXXX Gold   $7.35   $7350.00
Woolworths Milk   $1.00   $1000.00
Standard Petrol   $1.52   $1520.00
Mount Franklin Spring Water   $4.65   $4650.00
Logan Water   $0.0036        $3.58
Gold Coast Water   $0.0035        $3.52

When you look at the real cost of water compared to other products you purchase to drink it not only puts it in perspective but makes you appreciate how fortunate we are to be able to turn on a tap and receive drinking water that is free of bacteria and virus’s so we are not forced to purchase bottled water at $4650.00 per kilolitre to drink.

Yours sincerely,
Gary Mays

WELS Water Rating Label on Taps and Toilets?

WELS Water Rating Label on Taps and Toilets?

Here at Whywait Plumbing, it gets very frustrating at times when clients want us to install products they have purchased “cheaply” online or bought from non-specialist outlets who import cheap non-compliant product. All products we install are required by law to have a WaterMark certificate and a WELS water rating label certificate. It is illegal for licensed plumbers to install non-compliant products.

WELS Water Rating Label certificates are on every product plumbers install. Unfortunately, many of our clients are confused by the rating WELS Water Rating Label on Taps and Toilets? 1requirements, which is mainly because there has been little public education and therefore awareness.

In 2005, the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme as a joint initiative of the Australian, State, and Territory governments became law. Under the WELS Water Rating Label scheme, products that use water must be tested under standardised conditions in a laboratory by a government regulator. Each product is given a comparative rating score of between one and six stars to indicate the product’s efficiency. The WELS Water Rating Label certificates or stickers are very similar in appearance to those used for energy rating labels for things like fridges, dishwashers, washing machines, heaters and air conditioning units.

The WELS Water Rating Label scheme was instituted to eliminate and educate on unnecessary water use. The WELS Water Rating Label scheme on current projections is expected to save 800,000 megalitres of water by the year 2021 across Australia. This equates to about a billion dollars of water bill savings. A further little-known benefit of the WELS Water Rating Label scheme is a reduction in greenhouse gases which is estimated to equal to the removal of 90,000 cars from Australian roads every year.

When the plumbers at Whywait raise the issue of WELS Water Rating Label certificates, many of our clients ask which products have to have WELS labels? Very simply  under the WELS Water Rating Label scheme, the bathroom products that need to be rated in Australia are:

  • shower heads
  • tapware
  • toilets pans, cisterns and urinals

WELS water rating label certificate on showerheads from Whywait PlumbingInstalling water-efficient showerheads in your home’s bathrooms account for 25% of the water savings under the WELS Water Rating Label scheme. This is due to the significant difference in the amount of water used in showers with a standard showerhead using between 15-25 litres of water per minute. A 3-star rated showerhead only uses 6 or 7 litres per minute which means installing a water-efficient showerhead reduces your water consumption in the shower alone by 40%. Using less water in the shower has the added benefit of reducing your electricity or gas bill as you use about 40%-60% less hot water.

All taps used in kitchen sinks, bathroom basins, bathroom showers and laundry troughs must be WELS rated. However, a bath tap although in all likelihood WELS rated does not require to be flow reduced as you use the same amount of water to fill a bath no matter what. Flow restrictors mean the bath takes longer to fill. Most mixer taps and many combination tap spouts have an aerator that is combined with a flow restrictor, installed on the spout outlet that mixes the water with air, and in the process can cut the amount of water used from 15-22 litres per minute down to around 3 – 6 litres per minute.

Finally, the WELS Water Rating Label scheme requires flushing toilets and urinals to meet a basic level of water efficiency. Waterless urinals are not required to have any form of WELS certification. Concerning toilets, an average flush is calculated as one full flush and four half-flushes. Therefore a compliant toilet suite cannot exceed 5.5 litres per average flush. Water-efficient toilets make up a significant amount of the water savings under the WELS scheme with savings of 22% as a traditional toilet used 11 litres per flush compared to water-efficient dual flush toilets that use, on average less than 4 litres per flush. This adds up to savings of 52 litres of water per person, per day, and can add up to $800 less in your water bill over ten years.

When choosing plumbing products for your home, it is a good idea to take into consideration the information on the WELS Water Rating Label and the savings you can make over the long term on both water and electricity or gas bills.

For more information on the WELS scheme, go to waterrating.gov.au.

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