Sydney Water is implementing a five-year strategy to improve services to residential and business customers.
Sydney Water delivers sustainable water and wastewater services for the benefit of the community. We supply 1.4 billion litres of water a day to 1.77 million homes and large and small businesses. During 2009–10, Sydney Water achieved 100% compliance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
Sydney Water collects and treats over 1.3 billion litres of wastewater a day from 1.72 million properties with a wastewater main. There are 24 separate sewerage systems licensed by the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water.
Customers are regularly surveyed for their input and opinion. A key study carried out each year measures customers’ views of Sydney Water’s performance. Customer opinion is generally positive, with fewer than four per cent of customers giving Sydney Water a low rating. Overall, customers view Sydney Water favourably at a moderately high 7.5 out of 10.
There have been some significant improvements across many areas. Customers rate the Sydney Water staff they contact highly.
This year’s survey reveals that value for money is of most importance to Sydney Water’s customers. This received the same rating as last year – 7.0 out of 10. About 40% of people surveyed now describe the price of water as high or very high.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) regulates and sets the price of water services. Current prices cover the costs of water and wastewater services, water recycling schemes at Rosehill-Camellia and St Marys and water from the desalination plant.
To help customers on limited incomes, Sydney Water allocated about $2.5 million over four years, for a range of financial assistance.
The survey shows that there has been a steady improvement in three other areas that are important to Sydney Water’s customers. These are:
Water efficiency measures are helping residents, businesses and others to use water wisely. These initiatives will save up to 24% of Sydney’s water needs by 2015.
Customers can get real time information on fault repairs from Sydney Water. A computer-based scheduling system, introduced in 2008–09, means crews can now update information while they are on-site.
Sydney Water is managing future water needs by increasing the water from other sources. By 2015, recycling will provide 12% of water needs. The new desalination plant can provide up to 15% of the water supply.
To meet the needs of a growing population, Sydney Water is continuing its program to upgrade the wastewater treatment system.
Customers are also concerned with the capture and recycling of stormwater. Sydney Water is working with councils and other agencies to manage the stormwater system in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra. Most stormwater assets belong to councils and local treatment and reuse projects are more cost and energy efficient than larger scale projects, when it comes to collecting, treating and pumping stormwater.