Effective 1 July 2019, SA Water will take on ownership, management and operation of the wastewater network servicing the District Council of Yankalilla region and the drinking water supply network in Wirrina.
Following community consultation, the council this week formally voted to the in-principle transfer of ongoing responsibility of the two systems to the state-wide utility. The parties will look to formalise an agreement in coming weeks.
SA Water’s General Manager of Customer Delivery Kerry Rowlands said over the next few months, SA Water will be providing a range of information to new water and sewerage customers.
“We want this transition to be as smooth as possible, and ensure people understand what the change-over in management means for them,” Kerry said.
“One of the main benefits for our new water customers, will be inclusion in our state-wide pricing structure, which means people pay the same price per kilolitre of water, no matter where they live, or the actual cost of providing the service.
“In fact, ongoing water usage charges for Wirrina water customers will be lower than existing council charges, and most residential wastewater customers in the broader council area will pay less than their existing sewerage service rates.
“People can also expect reliable wastewater and drinking water services that meet or exceed all relevant public health and other regulatory requirements, as well as access to a 24/7 customer response service and bill payment support when necessary.
“On a more practical level, bills will look a little different, and from mid this year, any fault reports or general queries will need to be directed to SA Water.”
For the change-over in management to proceed, SA Water needed majority support from people currently supplied through Wirrina’s mains water network, as they will be required to contribute a one-off payment to fund necessary upgrades to the water network.
These will bring the local water treatment plant in line with SA Water’s operational standards.
“On top of receiving mostly positive feedback from the wider community during our engagement over several months last year, we also obtained that vital support from people in Wirrina,” Kerry said.
“It was really important both the council and community backed the proposal, and we look forward to using our expertise and experience to deliver safe and efficient wastewater and water services to the region.”
Once SA Water assumes management of the local wastewater network, there will be no additional up-front charges to existing Community Wastewater Management System (CWMS) customers, and if a resident or business owner in Wirrina chooses not to become a water customer of SA Water, they will remain a customer of the District Council of Yankalilla and will be subject to the council’s existing charges.
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