Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

Water & Sewerage Contribution Charges

Consumption charges for non-residential property owners

Council is changing the way it charges developers for water and sewerage contributions in commercial and industrial developments.

The new system introduces a user-pays model which means all commercial and industrial customers will now pay for the water and sewerage service capacity they actually use, making the system fairer, more affordable, more transparent and more attractive to business.

High consumption charges are charges for consuming more water or contributing more to the sewerage system than you have previously purchased ET entitlements to use. It is charged when your water usage or sewerage discharge exceeds your entitlements.

Please note; this is a different charge to the water usage charge. It is charged in excess of any water usage charges.

Old Situation

When a property was developed, Council used to assess the property’s demand for water and sewerage discharge based on the property’s intended use. The property owner or developer then payed upfront for

this demand. If further development approvals were needed then a reassessment of the demand occurred and potentially meant an increase in charges. The demand assessments were based on average water consumption from similar businesses throughout the state.

Council has identified that the requirement to pay upfront is a deterrent to development in the Bega Valley Shire with many businesses required to pay large amounts before the first customer has walked through the door.

What’s different about the new system?

The new system will remove the requirement to pay up front, and instead require a business to pay based on their usage.

What is an ET entitlement?

ET stands for equivalent tenement. It is a standard measurement based on the average water consumed or average sewage discharged by an average residential dwelling. A standard ET entitlement as defined by the Bega Valley Shire Council is:

  • Water consumption – 205 kL per year
  • Sewage discharged – 190 kL per year Example:

If your business was a hairdresser with 3 basins/stations, under the old situation, the business would have been assessed to place a demand on the water network equivalent to 1.5 standard dwellings (0.5 ET/basin x 3), and contribute 2.4 standard dwellings worth of sewerage demand (0.8 ET/basin x 3). This would have meant that you were required to pay for the additional 0.5 ET for water and 1.4 ET for sewer.

How will high consumption charges benefit businesses?

The high consumption charge will remove the financial deterrent to new businesses, or those relocating to new premises. All commercial and industrial customers will pay for the water and sewerage service capacity they actually use instead of its predicted use.

The charges will act as an incentive to reduce the amount of water consumed by a business. Those that use less water will pay less.

Will I have to pay more?

If your property is using up to, or less than, the current ET entitlement, you will not have to pay more. If your property is using above its ET entitlement, the property will be charged:

  • Consumption charges for water consumption and/or sewerage usage as normal and,
  • High consumption charges for water consumption and/or sewerage usage for water consumption and/or sewerage usage above your ET entitlement

These charges are detailed in Council’s fees and charges, and revenue policy, available on Council’s website.

When will the ET entitlement for my property be reviewed by Council?

After July 1 if you apply for a:

  • Development Application
  • Section 68 Water or Sewerage Application (Construction Certificate)
  • Liquid Trade Waste Renewal or Application (from July 1st 2019 onwards)
  • Water Management Act 2000 – Certificate of compliance

Council will review the water consumption and sewerage usage for the property.

One of the conditions on your approval notice will be to obtain a Water Management ACT 2000 - Certificate of Compliance for Water Supply and Sewerage. Through this process your existing ET entitlement will be assessed. This entitlement will be displayed on your Water Management Act 2000 – Certificate of Compliance, and will form the basis for any subsequent high consumption charges.

Any water consumed or sewage discharged in excess of the ET entitlement detailed on the Certificate of Compliance will attract high water consumption and sewerage usage charges.

What happens if I’m not applying for anything?

If you are not applying for one of the above applications, the ET entitlement at your property will remain at the current level, and you will not be charged high consumption charges.

What else do I need to know?

All properties have the ability to purchase additional ET entitlements through submission of a new application for a Water Management Act 2000 – Certificate of Compliance. This will have the effect of reducing the amount paid in high consumption charges. ET entitlements can be purchased at the rate specified in Councils Fees and Charges.

ET entitlements at a property will not be reimbursed as part of this assessment.

When will the high consumption charge be activated for my property?

The high consumption charge is activated from the date of the issue of Certificate of Compliance for Water Supply and Sewerage (some exemptions may be negotiated).

High consumption charges will be listed on your quarterly water bill. You will not incur any high consumption charges until your cumulative water or sewer usage exceeds your allowance for the financial year.


For more information, visit Rates Explained / Water and Sewerage Charges.


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