In this article, we take an in-depth look at the average water bill in Australia. Water bills are one of those necessary costs of living that we must reluctantly pay every quarter. It can seem like prices are always on the rise, and many of us are left wondering how our bill compares to the average water bill in Australia.

Fortunately, you don’t have to wonder anymore as we have packed all of the information you need into this comprehensive article so keep reading.

 

Average water bill Australia

According to a survey that was carried out by Canstar Blue in May 2020, the average quarterly water bill in Australia is $272. This works out to be $1088 per year, $90.67 per month, or $20.92 per week.

Average water bills also vary depending on the household size. Take a look at the average quarterly water bill Australia by household size below.

Household sizeAverage bill
1$221
2$268
3$312
4$323
5 or more$372

It should come as no surprise that the more people who live in your home, the more expensive the water bill will be, with a difference of around $150 between the smallest and largest households on average.

However, if you’re wondering if you would save money by moving in with another adult to split the cost with, then the answer is yes. People living alone pay an average of $221 per quarter, but if you live with another adult and split the cost you would pay around $134 each.

Of course, this is different when you live with dependents who don’t contribute towards the payments.

Average water bill Australia by state

The price of water per kilolitre varies between different states and therefore so does the average water bill. Other factors may also come into play here, for example those in warmer states are more likely to have a pool at home, but those in colder states may be more likely to take longer showers in the winter. Here are the average water bills for each state:

Western Australia$234
New South Wales$246
Victoria$259
Queensland$300
South Australia$324
Tasmania$365

 

As you can see from the above information, those living in Western Australia enjoy the lowest average water bills in the country, whilst Tasmanians pay the most on average.

 

Average water bill Sydney

The average water bill in Sydney is $1,061.59 per year, or $265.40 per quarter, which is slightly higher than the average for New South Wales. According to a study by Canstar Blue, 32% of New South Wales bill payers believe that their water charges are too high, 53% try to reduce water usage in order to cut costs.

 

Average water bill Brisbane

According to Urban Utilities, the average water bill in Brisbane is $326.69 per quarter, $26.69 higher than the average for the state. 48% of Queenslanders believe that they are paying too much, and 49% reported making a conscious effort to reduce their usage.

 

Average water bill Melbourne

On average, Melbournians pay $1,011 per year for their water, which works out as $252.75 per quarter – just a little less that the state’s average. However, 40% of Victoria bill payers believe that they are paying too much, whilst almost half try to cut back their water usage in order to reduce costs.

Average water bill by age group

Interestingly, research by Canstar Blue also found that quarterly average water bills in Australia also differ between different age groups, as detailed below.

Age groupAverage bill
18-29$349
30-39$294
40-49$259
50-59$261
60-69

70+

$243

$216

 

These numbers suggest that in general water bills tend to reduce as you get older for the most part. Water concessions and rebates for seniors may play a part in this; however it also indicates that maybe our water usage habits change with age.

 

Average household bill by household income

If you have ever wondered whether those on lower incomes have lower water bills, then take a look at the figures below.

Annual household incomeAverage bill
Under $30,000$205
$30,000-$49,000$258
$50,000-$79,000$270
$80,000-$119,000$295
$Over $120,000$295

It seems from these figures that lower income households do pay slightly lower water bills than higher income households on average. However, a lower income household may indicate less people living in a home, which usually means lower water usage.

Those with higher incomes may also be more likely to live in a larger house, possibly with a pool or a larger lawn, which would all contribute towards higher bills.

 

Factors affecting average water bills

Although it’s handy to look at average water bills in Australia there are several factors that can affect average bills significantly, for example, the time of year. In colder areas of the country, people might enjoy longer showers during the winter, and in dry areas, residents might water their gardens more often during the summer.

Water bills are also affected by where you live since you are charged for the supply of water to your address as well as your usage. For example, those in regional areas may pay more than residents of urban areas.

A change in your habits may also affect water consumption which in turn affects your bill, for example adding a new member to the household, or buying a new sprinkler for your lawn. Other factors include leaky pipes and inefficient appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.

 

Billing frequency

Research by Canstar Blue found that 70% of Australians pay their water bills quarterly, and 11% pay them monthly. Whilst quarterly billing is the norm in Australia, it is possible to discuss your options with your water provider to find the best system for you.

 

Water usage in Australia

Australians have the highest water usage per person in the world, despite being the driest inhabited continent. The average daily usage is 340L per person or 900L per household. However, in some coastal regions, the average is 100L per person, whereas in some dry inland regions it is as high as 800L per person.

So what are we using this water for? Well, a single flush toilet uses approximately 12L per flush. A bath uses approximately 100L, whilst a 10-minute shower uses about 200L. Dishwashers use approximately 50L per load, whilst washing machines use 150L per load. On average we each use about 10L per day for drinking, cooking, and cleaning.

 

Water bills explained

Even when armed with a better understanding of average water bills and usage, understanding your bill can be tricky.

Generally, water bills are made up of two types of charges: a fixed access charge and variable usage charges. The fixed access charge covers both the connection to sewerage systems and the supply of water to your home.

The variable usage charge is based on the amount of water that you use. This charge is generally tiered, meaning that you are charged a certain amount for your water up to a threshold. Any water usage above the threshold will be charged at a higher rate.

Variable usage charges also include sewerage which is charged at the same rate as your water usage and is estimated at about 90% of your average daily water use.

Depending on where in Australia you are based, your bill may also include a state bulk water charge. This is the amount that the state government charges the water retailer to purchase water to supply to customers. It is set by the state government, and the retailer is required by law to pass the cost on to consumers.

 

How to save water and reduce water bills

If you are wondering how to save water then there are some things that you can do to lower your usage. Try the below tips to reduce water usage, in turn reducing your bills:

  • Check all taps, toilets, and pipes for leaks
  • Consider fixing aerators onto your taps
  • Install a water-saving shower head and try to reduce your showers by a few minutes
  • Install a cistern displacement device into your toilet tank if you do not have a dual flush.
  • Limit your dishwasher and washing machine usage by only using them with a full load. If running a half load, adjust the settings accordingly. Consider replacing your appliances with eco-friendly models to save money in the long run.
  • Always use the plug when you are washing up to let the basin fill up, rather than running the tap constantly.
  • Keep the grass on your lawn a little longer during the summer to reduce water loss due to evaporation. Watering the lawn early in the morning or late in the afternoon will also help.
  • Install a water tank to collect rainwater for use in your house or garden.

If you need help installing water-saving devices such as a water tank, cistern displacement device, water-saving shower head, or energy-efficient devices, contact a professional plumber who can also advise you on more ways to save water and reduce your bills.