July 14, 2020
South Burnett Regional Council has doubled down on its decision to raise the cost of standpipe water by almost 150 per cent, despite community outrage from some affected consumers.
In a media release on Tuesday, a Council statement blamed poor communication as the root cause of the problem.
“Council has received mixed reactions within the community in relation to the price change and will work on improving its communication on key issues in the future,” the media statement said.
“Any person who wishes to understand the price change further is encouraged to review Council’s Standpipe Charges fact sheet (see link, below), and whilst Council will uphold its existing decision, we see this as the first step in communicating the rationale and facts of the need for this decision.”
The Council statement pointed to “uncontrolled consumption of water from standpipes, particularly when supply restrictions are in place” as one of the reasons for the original review of charges.
It said it had received inquiries by “people across the region” regarding the comparison of scheme charges.
“Council’s water supply schemes are supplied from water allocations and are only designed to support connected users to the networks,” the statement said.
“Allocations are managed through restrictions and tiered pricing to minimise use as much as possible.
“Due to these restrictions, Council does not have capacity to supply a standpipe connection to the Kingaroy reticulation network as the system cannot provide additional uncontrolled water.
“Standpipes are available to support rural households when domestic supply from tanks is under critical conditions.
“As previously mentioned, standpipes are not under any restrictions and consumption is primarily managed through pricing to encourage responsible self-restriction for domestic use only, similar to the purpose of a tiered system pricing on a water scheme.”
The Council statement justified the price rise as a way to encourage responsible water use.
“Over consumption of standpipe water in turn reduces reliability and security of the supply,” the statement continued.
“The justification pricing for standpipes considered a number of factors to establish a reasonable price that ensures the standpipes can continue to support rural residences for critical domestic use whilst minimising the impact on the security of town water supplies.”
South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto promised at a street meeting in Nanango on June 29 that Council would review the standpipe price rise decision passed at the June Council meeting.
There has been no Council meeting held since that date.
The new standpipe prices – a rise from $4.10 to $10 per kilolitre – came into effect on July 1.
The new charge applies to all standpipes in the region, whether the water is of drinking quality (Nanango, Blackbutt and Benarkin) or non-potable (Hivesville).
- Download the SBRC Water Standpipe Fact Sheet (560kb PDF)