Benchmarking urban water utilities

Front cover of the report

Each year we prepare a benchmarking report to support industry innovation, improved service delivery and efficiency in Australia's urban water utilities.
Covering 182 pricing and service quality indicators, the National Performance Report 2015–16 for urban water utilities compares 86 water utilities providing services to over 20 million people across Australia.
Results show the median annual volume of residential water supplied remained consistent with previous years, increasing just 1 per cent to 182 kL per property.
Surface water remains the dominant water source in Australia, but there was a 7 per cent increase in recycled water supplied by medium-to-large utilities, including many large regional utilities and councils. This increase reflects an overall long-term trend of reduced surface water availability and a commitment to diversify supply sources in the face of growing demand.
The report provides analysis on water resources, finance, pricing, assets, health, environment and customer numbers, and commentary on how they are affected by recent climatic conditions, utility size and water source availability.
Other highlights include:
  • The median typical residential bill for water and sewerage increased by 4 per cent to $1,386 per property. While there is a long-term trend of increases, the rate of increase has been 4 per cent for the last two reporting years.
  • Total capital expenditure by Australian urban water utilities has remained steady in recent years. In 2015–16 utilities spent $3.12 billion on water supply and sewerage services, a 1 per cent ($41 million) increase from the previous year.
  • The median combined operating expenditure for water and sewerage has shown a steady increase, up 3 per cent to $920 per property.
  • The number of total complaints for water and sewerage services remains relatively low at 5 complaints per 1000 properties.
Selected statistics from the National Performance Report: urban water utilities 2015–16. Visit for full details.
Selected statistics from the 2015–16 report
Now in its 11th year, the report is published on behalf of the regulators and lead water agencies in each State and Territory. The independent and public report helps consumers and governments decide if water sector operations are efficient and cost effective.