The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) has welcomed the release of Infrastructure Australia’s (IA) latest paper, Reforming Urban Water – a national pathway for change, and the case it builds for urban water reform.
WSAA’s Executive Director, Adam Lovell, said WSAA supports the peak industry organisation’s call for a new national urban water reform plan and an independent national urban water reform body.
“It is gratifying to see the strong and growing consensus around urban water reform that has developed between governments, water utilities and the private sector. The recommendations from Infrastructure Australia are in line with the reforms WSAA has been championing on behalf of the industry and its customers,” Mr Lovell said.
“With challenges including growth, climate change and affordability there is a clear burning platform for reform.”
Mr Lovell said they look to the Productivity Commission’s Final National Water Reform Report to “kick-start” action by all governments in 2018.
“Incentive payments to state and territory governments will be crucial to progress reform,” Mr Lovell said.
He said WSAA agrees with Infrastructure Australia, that the institutional environment in which the industry operates needs to evolve if it is to meet the challenges of the future.
Prime among these are population growth and the impact of climate change.
Mr Lovell said better integration of urban water into city planning, including the stormwater sector, can turn challenges into opportunities.
However, affordability remains a prime concern for water utilities and their customers.
Some recommendations in the paper include a system of national regulation once other reforms were in place.
WSAA said it considers private ownership a matter for individual government shareholders to consider on a case by case basis.