Our five-year plan for water and wastewater in the ACT

July 4, 2022

Icon Water has published a price proposal for water and wastewater services in the ACT 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 us to continue providing reliable water and wastewater services to our community. It also responds to major factors influencing our operating environment and allows us to proactively make plans for ageing infrastructure while supporting a growing ACT population and mitigating the effects of climate change. 

We will invest about $700 million over the 2023–28 regulatory period to renew and upgrade our critical infrastructure, including significant upgrades of our wastewater treatment facilities to meet the needs of a growing ACT population. Our 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%, or $1.11 per week.  

“We have carefully planned our investments for the next five years to ensure we continue to meet our 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,” says Icon Water Managing Director Ray Hezkial. 

A significant proportion of the ACT’s water and wastewater assets were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s during a period of rapid expansion in Canberra, including our main wastewater treatment plant and multiple water reservoirs around our 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. 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,” says Mr Hezkial. 

Our 2023–28 Price Proposal has been informed by and refined during extensive consultation with the ACT community. In 2021, we launched our customer engagement program – Let’s Talk Water and Wastewater. It’s our most comprehensive engagement program to date and has so far involved over 17,500 Canberrans. Topics canvassed included customer priorities for water security, levels of service, tariffs, innovation, sustainability, liveability and customer service channels. We thank the community for their input so far, and we will continue our dialogue with the community through the Let’s Talk engagement platform as we make decisions in the future. 

The ACT community also told us that affordability should underpin any investment decision. They support timely investment to maintain services and asked us to consider support for vulnerable customers and other impacted customer segments. We will continue to engage with customers from these cohorts to learn through their lived experiences and seek advice from their advocates. This will help us review our existing support mechanisms and determine how we can best support our 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. Those same pressures also influence our day-to-day costs of providing essential water and wastewater services to our community,” says Ray Hezkial. 

The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission will now review and consult on our 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 at icrc.act.gov.au/water-and-sewerage/regulated-water-and-sewerage-services-prices-202328

An overview of our price proposal, along with more detailed supporting information, is available at www.iconwater.com.au/priceproposal. You can also learn more about our Let’s Talk Water and Wastewater engagement results at letstalk.iconwater.com.au/water-and-wastewater-survey-results