Tips & Advice

Average Water Bills in Sydney, Illawarra and Shoalhaven

Dams levels are starting to decline once more in the Shoalhaven, Sydney and Illawarra regions. Residents will pay an even higher price for water usage if the dam levels drop below 60%.

Since 2020 prices for Great Sydney water consumers have been determined by dam levels. Prices are triggered to rise whenever dam water levels fall below 60%.

Be aware of all the different factors contributing to your water bill: how you are charged for your water; the dam level price trigger; and how much your household uses. 

Water management regulators have to take measures based on the harsh reality that drought conditions may be developing. It is inevitable that water catchment supplies for the Shoalhaven (Shoalhaven Water) and Sydney and Illawarra (Sydney Water) regions will fall below the 60% threshold at different times, and this will impact on your household bill.

With water charge increases a fact of life, reviewing your household water usage is the key to managing the size of your next bill. So, as you wash the car on the lawn and put on yet another necessary load of laundry, it will definitely pay to have a good understanding of local water charges.

Dam NSW – Average Water Bills In Sydney, Illawarra And Shoalhaven
Dam NSW – Average Water Bills In Sydney, Illawarra And Shoalhaven

Current pricing arrangements from Sydney Water (Sydney and Illawarra)

Every four years the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), a state government regulator of utilities, sets Sydney Water prices for water, wastewater, recycled water, stormwater and other services.

A trigger built into the billing arrangement since 2020 means a further increase in the consumption price whenever dam water levels fall below 60%.

In 2023/2024, if dam levels remain above 60%, you will pay $2.67 per kilolitre of water you consume. But if dam levels for Greater Sydney fall below 60%, this price will rise to $3.61 per kilolitre, according to the Sydney Water calculator.

Sydney Water estimates the target for a 3 person household on a small property should be under 456 litres a day, which would be under 166.44 kilolitres per year, on average.

The drought price trigger helping to safeguard water resources

IPART has explained the reasoning behind the new pricing arrangements. “The drought price provides stronger incentives for customers to conserve water when it is most scarce, without locking in higher prices when dams are full,” said IPART Chair Dr Paul Paterson in a media release.  It will also make greater capital expenditure possible for Sydney Water, “The prices will allow for a record $4.6 billion in capital expenditure by Sydney Water over the next four years.” 

The pricing incentivises Sydney Water consumers, “to conserve water all of the time while ensuring that customers only pay for the additional costs of drought when necessary”, Dr Paterson said.

Calculator – Average Water Bills In Sydney, Illawarra And Shoalhaven
Calculator – Average Water Bills In Sydney, Illawarra And Shoalhaven

What costs are included on a water bill?

Regardless of rainfall or drought, the more water your household consumes, the bigger your bill from Shoalhaven Water or from Sydney Water. It’s important to understand the bill from your water authority so you know what fixed charges you have to pay and where you might be able to cut back on consumption to save money.

Typically, each residence receives a Shoalhaven Water or Sydney Water bill quarterly, based on the metre readings that are taken every three months. The bill covers three main charges for residential metred properties: the usage-based water consumption charge; the fixed water service availability charge; and the fixed wastewater (sewage) service availability charge.

Pensioners pay a lower amount due to the pensioner rebate, as do owners of vacant lots, as they pay no water usage charges.

Water Consumption Charge

The water consumption volumetric user charge is levied for each kilolitre (1,000 litres) of water used and is based on the reading from a property’s water meter. This fee is charged after the water is used, unlike the water service availability charge. The water consumption charge is a single amount per kilolitre. This price is for metred properties and is the same for both single-family homes and apartments or flats.  

  • In 2023/24, the drinking water usage charge for the Shoalhaven area (Shoalhaven Water) is $2 per kL, for metred properties. 
  • In 2023/24, the drinking water usage charge for the Sydney and Illawarra areas (Sydney Water) is $2.67 per kL, for metred properties, but will increase to $3.61 per kL if dam levels drop to below 60% for Greater Sydney. 

Water Service Fixed Availability Charge

This fixed annual fee (levied as a quarterly amount at the time of meter reading) is for the connection, or ability to connect, to the drinking water supply. All residential properties are levied a water service fixed availability charge, typically based on a 20mm connection and the same for both single-family homes and apartments or flats.

  • For 2023/2024, the base water service charge for metred properties in the Shoalhaven area (Shoalhaven Water) is $88.00 per year.
  • For the 2023/204, the base water service charge for metred properties in the Sydney and Illawarra areas (Sydney Water) is $71.32 per year.

Wastewater service (sewer service) fixed availability charge:

This fixed annual fee (levied as a quarterly amount at the time of water meter reading together with the water charges if applicable) is for the connection, or ability to connect, to the wastewater distribution system. All residential properties are levied a wastewater fixed availability charge generally based on a 20mm service and the same for both single-family homes and apartments or flats.

  • The annual sewer service charge for the Shoalhaven area (Shoalhaven Water) residences for 2020/21 is set at $876 per year.
  • The annual sewer service charge for Sydney and Illawarra areas (Sydney Water) residences for 2020/21 is set at $549 per year.
Glass of Water – Average Water Bills In Sydney, Illawarra And Shoalhaven
Glass of Water – Average Water Bills In Sydney, Illawarra And Shoalhaven

A Typical Water Bill in Shoalhaven, Illawarra or Sydney

The NSW Water Supply and Sewerage Performance Monitoring Report compares prices across different water authorities and provides a Typical Residential Bill (TRB). This is the annual bill paid by a residential customer using the utility’s average annual residential water supplied. It is the principal indicator of the overall cost of a water supply or sewerage system.

Look up water usage calculators, such as the online calculator provided by Sydney Water, to find out how much water you are using and how much it will cost.

On average, each person in Sydney uses about 200 litres of drinking quality water every day

Comparisons of Typical Residential Bills

It is harder to compare regional water bills. In the past the average Shoalhaven Water household used less (150kL per year) than the Sydney Water household (201kL per year). Also the dam level pricing arrangement applies to Sydney Water but not Shoalhaven Water households.

For the sake of comparison, the table below uses an example of a small household using an average of 166 kilolitres per year as the common basis.

2023/24 Projected Typical Residential bill per annum 

Water Charges Shoalhaven Water Households Sydney Water Households
Supply – Average usage $495.77 

[Based on example of 166 kL@ $2 per kL]
$443.22   (non-drought) 
$599.26  drought 
[Based on example of 166 kL@ 
@ $2.67  per kL (non-drought) 
@ $3.61 per kL (drought)]
Supply – Fixed Charge $88 $71.32
Wastewater/Sewerage Service – Fixed Charge $956 $621.84
TOTAL ANNUAL BILL $1539.77  $1136.38 (non-drought) or $1292.42 (drought)

How to save money on your water bill 

You can reduce water consumption and the size of your bills by making some simple adjustments. If your household water consumption is high, try introducing these measures: 

  • Have shorter showers 
  • Fix existing leaky pipes, and monitor both visible and concealed pipes regularly 
  • Economise with garden watering, and ideally invest in a rainwater tank 
  • Wash vehicles on the lawn 
  • Use a pool blanket or cover to minimise evaporation of pool water 
  • Utilise water-efficient devices such as showerhead restrictors and dual-flush toilets 
  • Wait for fuller loads of laundry 
  • Only run the dishwasher when it is full 
  • Avoid keeping the tap running while brushing your teeth. 

Water Wise Rules

The Shoalhaven Water and Sydney Water websites have information on the latest water-wise rules and recommendations. For more tips on what you can do, see our articles on conserving water around the home and other water-wise tips. 

Check Your Plumbing

We don’t know what the year ahead will hold, but Sydney Water users will certainly hope for continued good rains so dams don’t fall below the 60 % ‘drought price trigger’.  

Something you can control is water leakages in your property. Get in touch with us today to request a professional inspection of your plumbing system to ensure you are not spending too much on your water bills. 

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Steve Taylor
December 4, 2023
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The team were on time, very professional and I was informed of all that was to be done before and during and then a summary at the end of the job. We were very impressed. Thank you also for replacing our old gas hot water system so quickly
December 4, 2023
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November 30, 2023
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November 29, 2023
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Curran were out within an hour of my call. I was fully advised by the person on the end of the phone of their procedures and they communicated with me by text and email during my wait. The technician gave me 25 mins notice of his arrival. He advised me what he would be doing, the price, and when he was about to turn the power off. Fixed the problem in 20 mins. I was very impressed with their customer service.
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November 22, 2023
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Ann Cameron
November 22, 2023
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I was very pleased & impressed with the quick service & politeness of this young men & also the way they cleaned up & put everything back the way it was ,I would definitely recommend Currans Plumbing to anyone.
November 20, 2023
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I have no hesitation in recommending Curran's to anyone needing repairs or installations in their homes. Top service and attention to detail; tradesmen are all polite, courteous and respectful. At every stage of the job they checked before going ahead if problems were discovered. Great work Currans!
Max Zalakos
November 18, 2023
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November 16, 2023
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November 15, 2023
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November 14, 2023
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Onge Onge
November 9, 2023
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Guys did a great job in not so easy circumstances and short notice, very polite and professional. Answered any questions I had and kept us updated all the way. No problem recommending Curran for any plumbing work.
Belinda Dakin
November 7, 2023
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November 2, 2023
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These guys never disappoint.professional, courteous and transparent.I wish more tradies used this business model.
David Smith
November 2, 2023
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We had a blocked sewer. Communication with the organisation wad easy. I was kept informed about the job. Nathan was polite, well presented and had a great attitude. He explained what he would do and why. The job was done well, he explained what he did and what the result of his work was. He did a great job. Thanks
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November 2, 2023
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Dianne Hosa
October 31, 2023
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Cheryl Harris
October 27, 2023
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I found the guys at Curran Electrical and Plumbing to be great, they were open really friendly and helpful. They did the job on time with no mess. I also found them to be honest. I thought I had to replace two lights in the bathroom however while installing the new ones we found another switch so I did not need them replaced after all and the quote was adjusted to reflect this.
Bryan Rugg
October 25, 2023
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October 25, 2023
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Jimmy's Burger Truck
October 23, 2023
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October 18, 2023
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October 16, 2023
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The contractors (both electrical and plumbing tradespeople) were personable and professional. It was great service, they arrived on time, checked each decision with me and worked hard. They were clean and tidy and treated my place respectfully.
Kevin Ryan
October 15, 2023
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Michael C
October 10, 2023
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They assessed the job clearly, told us what was needed, and explained how they would work. They turned up on time, were polite, and did the work with a minimum of fuss.
Charlie Bell
October 6, 2023
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Curran were able to come to me at short notice after a sewer disaster. They kept me informed of timing and Jake the plumber was clearly knowledgeable and passionate about his trade. He was efficient, thorough and happy to answer questions and tell me why and what he was doing offering a practical solution to our ageing property’s plumbing needs. Thank you. I’ll be in touch
Tracy Webb
October 5, 2023
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Jono Q
October 3, 2023
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Katrina Toland
September 25, 2023
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We use Curran's for any plumbing requirement we have. They communicate well and are conscious of the importance of everyone's time. I totally recommend their services.
Mitch Ashford
September 12, 2023
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My mother who's in her 80's needed her toilet fixed. Curran Plumbing and Electrical did everything perfectly. Service was fast, plumber did a great job after informing me of the several options I had. He was also polite, well mannered and friendly, taking the time to ensure I understood everything he did. Service was perfect and I highly recommend Curran Plumbing and Electrical
Merryn Wright
September 12, 2023
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Curran Plumbing & Electrical recently installed a new pump on my rainwater tank. I am very pleased with their work and also that they were able to do it within a few days of getting their quote. I also appreciated that when the quote was done that a video was taken of what needed to be done, so that whoever did the work knew what needed to be done.
August 26, 2023
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Had a new toilet installed and 6 taps replaced with ‘quarter turn’ taps to aid my arthritic fingers. Perfectly happy with the work and the very professional and friendly tradesmen. Gold stars to Luke, Josh and Jake
Jeff B
July 01, 2023
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Jake arrived on time, we talked thru our issue and he checked out our storm water problem. He was easily able to pinpoint our blockage and put together 2 quote options to rectify the fault. Jake is a good representative for the business👍
John Q
June 29, 2023
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Well done team. Great to finally meet a professional company. You guys responded quickly, found the problem, gave a respectable quote (unheard-of nowadays) and got the job done. This is the place to go if you have any electrical or plumbing needs. Thanks again Curran
Kelly S
June 28, 2023
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Sam was excellent. He was on time, polite, and did a fantastic and thorough job. He gave us detailed options for the job and we appreciated his honest and professional opinion. We will 100% use Curran plumbing again.
Dave P
June 04, 2023
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Sam was bang on time and fixed our septic issue very quickly. He also sent a camera up the pipes to ensure everything else was fine before leaving. We've enjoyed our ongoing relationship with Curran after they did some major works for us last year and our membership is well worth it.
John D
May 26, 2023
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The people doing the work were friendly, professional and informative and the work was carried out in a timely manner. You should be proud of the plumbing and electrical people who completed this work
Gordon M
July 18, 2022
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Currans supplied us with constant updating of the project and when completed arranged for an inspection of the completed works.
Mitchell F
July 16, 2022
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From the first phone call Curran plumbing services were professional, showed up on time for scheduled quote , then me updated when the job was going to be completed . On the day of install all of the staff were well trained , well spoken and installed my new instantaneous gas hot water system like they were installing it in their own home . The quality in detail to make sure I was satisfied didn’t go unnoticed. At the end of the day I feel like I have gained a plumber for life . 100% recommend.
InJect A Joint V
July 13, 2022
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Luke was a Complete Gentleman and he explained every detail to my wife and i!! On this basis we excepted his Quote on the Spot and told him to go ahead and install our Brand New Australian made Hot Water System!! It was all Done that afternoon with Expert Precision d we had Hot water by 4pm!! Absolutely Marvellous Well Done! Sid you should be Very Proud of the Workmanship that Luke Performed!!
Brian D
July 13, 2022
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From my first contact with your company to completion of the job was only a few days tree roots in the sewer pipes gone, big thanks to your team.
David Collins
July 11, 2022
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Hi it's Dave from Dapto for Block drain problem, Part of Sewer drain renewal and ground was leveled nice & looks good, kitchen drain came apart and was reconnected all services where friendly and good communication excellent work. Thank you
Kingfisher Maritime
July 10, 2022
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I found Josh from Curren Plumbing to be very honest and trustworthy in the work he carried out at my home. Josh communicated everything he was going to do and the results of these actions in a manner I was able to understand. I was happy with the work Josh did at my home.

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