Growth averts costlier water



ROCKHAMPTON's growth boom is turning off a potential water-use price hike for thousands of city home owners.

More than 1300 new water connections in the last two years appear to have pumped up enough access fee revenue to compensate the city council for a massive reduction in water use by residents like Depot Hill's Peter Kind.

Mr Kind and about 20,000 other home owners were facing the prospect of increased charges to counter a revenue loss but this appears to have been averted after a special report was tabled at a city council meeting this week.

Yesterday a relieved Mayor Margaret Strelow released figures which indicated water prices would not have to rise beyond the council's current five-year pricing path, if residential consumption remained the same.

"I'm absolutely confident, if we get the same income for the four quarters, we will be right,'' she said.

"If this continues to the end of the financial year we will have a balanced budget.''

The council had budgeted for a 15% water use reduction in the first year of a user-pays system but had to quickly reassess the impact on its revenue when residents turned off their taps to a much greater extent.

Mr Kind is a prime example of someone who has benefited from the new water meter system.

His bill for September was only $12.

"We don't waste it,'' he said.

"I laughed when I heard about the (possibility of) prices increasing.

"We wondered what people were screaming about.''

Water use is charged quarterly and current charges are 30 cents for the first 75 kilolitres, 50 cents for the next 100 kilolitres and 95 cents for every kilolitre after that.



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