calculator and Melbourne water bill

Average Water Bills In Melbourne


In Melbourne, water bills are a key component of household expenses, with variations based on usage, tariff structures, and the specific water provider. There are 15 water supply businesses contracted to urban water and sewerage services. While they cannot set rates independently, how they approach water maintenance and supply can directly influence the average household water bill.

The average water bill in Victoria, (including Melbourne) is among the lowest in Australia, demonstrating the state’s commitment to maintaining reasonable water service costs for its residents.

Table comparing data from Canstar Blue research in May 2020 and January 2023, for average quarterly water bills across various Australian states

State Average Quarterly Water Bill 2020 Average Quarterly Water Bill 2023
VIC $312 $191
NSW $268 $200
WA $221 $204
SA N/A $205
QLD $323 $240

The recent survey conducted in January 2023 by Canstar Blue observed that Victorian households experience some of the lowest average water bills nationwide, at $191 per quarter, down significantly from the same survey conducted in May 2020.

Using these figures the average monthly water bill in Melbourne would be approximately $60, but this figure can vary depending on the size of the household as well as any gardens and pools and lifestyle choices that dictate water consumption patterns. This baseline cost helps Melburnians to better understand their utility expenses in comparison to other states and manage their resources accordingly.

Who Sets Melbourne’s Water Price?

In Melbourne, the water prices are primarily set by the state government, specifically through the Victorian Essential Services Commission (ESC). The ESC is an independent regulatory body that oversees the water industry in Victoria. It sets the price, quality, and reliability standards for water services.

The ESC assesses water prices each June and brings any changes into effect each July 1st, meaning that residents need to anticipate annual adjustments to their water expenditure.

The water pricing process typically involves the water corporations – who manage the supply, removal and treatment of water – submitting their proposed prices, service standards, and other key aspects of their operation to the ESC. The ESC reviews these proposals and determines the final prices, ensuring that they are fair and reasonable for consumers while allowing the water corporations to cover their costs and invest in infrastructure.

This process is carried out periodically, generally every five years, known as a “regulatory pricing period.” During this period, the ESC consults with stakeholders, including the public, to ensure that the interests of the community are considered in setting the water prices.

How Water Prices Are Determined

Water prices in Melbourne are based on various factors, including annual water usage by households, inflation trends, water scarcity and the expenditures incurred by water businesses for maintaining and improving infrastructure and services.

The Commission takes into account these considerations to set fair and balanced pricing that enables water businesses to sustainably manage resources while providing affordable services to consumers.

Yearly adjustments to water prices reflect incremental changes in both dollar amounts and percentage terms compared to the previous year’s figures, considering an average water consumption rate specific to each water business. The typical shifts in water bills for residential owner-occupiers range within single-digit percentages, highlighting a modest but notable change from year to year.

While effort is made to keep water prices affordable, some customers struggle with payments due to limited income. In these cases, payment support options are made available.

Current Water Price in Melbourne

Melbourne residents receive comprehensive water services including the delivery of clean drinking water, wastewater removal, and environmental safeguards. The costs reflect infrastructure investments and daily operational expenses to maintain these essential services.

Melbourne’s water pricing structure is made up of two charges:

  • Usage charges
  • Service charges

Usage charges are based on the amount of water consumed and are tiered according to daily usage. Low water use (anything below 440 litres per day) and high water use (anything exceeding 440 litres per day.

Table showing current Melbourne water prices

Financial Year 2023-24 Price of Water per Kilolitre
Water use below 440 litres per day $3.4928
All water used above 440 litres per day $4.4566
Recycled water usage $2.2082

The service charges vary by provider and cover the costs of water delivery, treatment and maintenance as well as sewerage systems and stormwater catchments. Customers are required to pay this daily fee regardless of water consumption volume.

Man Reviewing Water Bill in Melbourne

Average Water Bills in Melbourne

In Melbourne, the average water bills for residential customers vary by the water provider they are under. For the 2023-24 period, depending on water usage, the typical annual bills are as follows:

Water Service Provider Average Annual Price 2023-2024 Previous Average 2022-2023
Greater Western Water $1,007 $941
South East Water $990 $967
Yarra Valley Water $1,049 $1,028
Overall Average $1,015 $979

A typical Melbourne household can expect to pay an average of $2.71 per day for water services, which annually totals approximately $989.15. These figures are based on an average annual consumption of 150 kiloliters.

Average Daily Water Use

The average water prices listed above are based on daily water use of 150 kilolitres per day. This estimate includes daily water usage for various needs and the costs associated with service delivery such as infrastructure maintenance and environmental protections, however, as of 2023, the average water use in Melbourne increased to about 164 litres per person per day.

The Victorian Government has set a new target for residential customers at 150 litres per person per day​.

Understanding Your Water Bill

Your water bill contains all the information you need to understand both your water charges and how much water is consumed at your premises. Billing is typically per quarter, and meter readings can vary from 90 to 92 days causing differences in billing through the year from seasonal differences as well as the daily fixed charges applied.

The number of fixed charges on your bill will depend on the water services in the local area which can include stormwater catchment, recycled water and drainage charges.

The different prices in water tiers are determined by dividing the bulk water usage by the number of days in the billing cycle. The exact number of days you are billed for is shown on your bill along with the amount of water used.

woman conserving water by turning off bath tap

How to Save Money on Your Water Bill

Managing water costs effectively is essential for Melbourne households. Reducing water consumption can help meet the daily target of 150 kilolitres and lead to significant savings over time and help conserve a precious resource.

Cost-Saving Strategies

People in Melbourne can adopt several practices to lower their water bills.

  • Fix leaks promptly: A dripping tap can waste a surprising amount of water—every drop counts. Regularly check taps, pipes, and toilet cisterns for leaks and have them repaired as soon as possible.
  • Install water-efficient fixtures: Consider fitting your home with water-saving showerheads and dual-flush toilets. These fixtures significantly reduce water usage without compromising on performance.
  • Use appliances efficiently: Only run your dishwasher and washing machine with full loads and select the eco-mode if available, which uses less water and energy.
  • Implement water-smart landscaping: Choose drought-resistant plants that require minimal watering. Add mulch to retain soil moisture, reducing the need to water gardens frequently and collect rainwater in barrels to use for watering gardens and lawns.
  • Educate family members: Encourage everyone in the household to be mindful of their water use. Shorter showers and turning off the tap while brushing teeth all contribute to lower water bills.

By applying these strategies, Melbournians can play a part in reducing their water consumption and, as a result, enjoy a decrease in their water bills. If you need help, a licensed Service Today plumber can assist with identifying and fixing leaks as well as installing water-saving fixtures.


Water expenses for Melbourne households have seen variations over recent years. Insights from the Essential Services Commission indicate a trend where, for the period of 2023-24, water bills are generally expected to rise compared with the previous financial year. This change will hopefully inspire residents to understand their water usage patterns and potential cost-saving strategies.

Households can utilise tools such as the Essential Services Commission’s water bill calculator to better predict and manage their annual expenses. Additionally, assistance exists for those who struggle to meet their water bill demands, ensuring that support aligns with community needs.

Water corporations in the region maintain a commitment to both service quality and customer support, balancing operational costs with public affordability. As the cost of living continues to challenge many, the emphasis remains firmly on delivering value and sustainability in Melbourne’s water services.