The results from SA Water’s largest customer engagement initiative are now available, revealing that, overall, customers are satisfied with the current level of service provided by SA Water.

Earlier this year, more than 1300 people took part in YourSay, through either an online survey or face to face workshops.

SA Water’s General Manager of Customer and Community Relations, Kerry Rowlands, said both regional and metropolitan and residential and business customers were consulted.

“The feedback from these participants is helping us to better understand and align our customers’ values, needs and expectations with levels of investment in SA Water’s future programs and services,” she said.

Late last year, SA Water held focus groups to identify key issues of customer importance which formed the basis of questions presented to workshop participants and survey respondents in this latest stage.

These questions focused on six main topics, including customer experience, service standards, service delivery and investment, water quality, water recycling, and water for growth.

“The common themes of the responses we received included that South Australians see water as a highly valued resource, they find it difficult to understand SA Water’s ownership and pricing structures, and believe more education would improve their experience with us,” Ms Rowlands said.

“More than 75 per cent of people who responded to the online survey said they are satisfied with the reliability of the water and wastewater services we provide but would like better communication on the progress of reported faults and issues.”

“They also said they value quick attendance times to things like pipe bursts and unplanned water outages.”

“We found that these responses were influenced by both water costs and the recent period of drought South Australia experienced and therefore the importance our customers place on conserving water.”

“They also indicated they would support investment in environmental projects and think water recycling schemes that focus on amenity use and the agricultural industry should be a priority. Just over 70 per cent of survey respondents are satisfied with the quality of their tap water and supported potential investment in improving regional water quality such as the recently completed desalination plant at Hawker in the Flinders Ranges.”

“Another form of technology that our customers indicated they’d like SA Water to research further is smart meters. Smart meters would facilitate remote reading, help us to detect leaks earlier and enable customers to monitor their usage across a range of communication devices.”

“However, both people in the workshops and those who responded to the online survey said they wouldn’t support a rollout of the meters at the current estimated cost, which would add $30-50 per year to the typical SA Water bill.”

“Customers in the nine workshops held across the state also offered suggestions as to how SA Water could support economic growth in South Australia, including helping post-graduate science and engineering students and partnering more with business and industry.”

“All of this invaluable feedback will now be further investigated and refined with more customer consultation and engagement to then take place.”

“Our customers’ input will guide SA Water in preparing its next Regulatory Business Proposal to the industry’s economic regulator, the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA), as well as being fed back into current operations.”

The proposal is due for submission in August 2015, with a decision expected to be made by ESCOSA in April 2016.

A full report detailing the latest YourSay results is available on the SA Water website.

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