Community Rebate Program

Female plumber using wrench on pipeThe Community Rebate Program offers rebates to customers in vulnerable and hardship situations to help reduce their water consumption and water bills. This is done by improving the water efficiency of appliances and fixing leaks around the property.  The program is run by each water corporation who sends a qualified plumber to undertake a water audit and retrofit.

The Community Rebate Program began in 2015 and has assisted around 10,000 customers across Victoria saving $600,000 a year in water bills and around 178 Megalitres in water, that’s over 70 Olympic sized swimming pools!

The program is expected to assist an additional 5,000 customers over the next two years.

For more information contact your local water corporation.

When Shirley contacted Central Highlands Water after noticing higher than normal water use on her meter, she did not expect to be cared for so much by her water corporation.

Shirley explained she was a pension card holder living with advanced arthritis and could not afford a plumber. Central Highlands Water identified she was eligible for the State Government’s Community Rebate Program and organised their dedicated plumber to visit her property.

Central Highlands Water’s plumber attended and completed an audit at Shirley’s house and found that the toilet cistern was beyond repair and leaking constantly.

“This work is very much appreciated and was carried out by a very courteous, efficient young man, who left not a speck of dirt behind him!” - Shirley, Central Highlands Water customer

Subsequently, the cistern was replaced with a new water efficient system. All the taps required washer replacement and new tap spindles were required on two of the outdoor taps. A pressure test was also completed to ensure the property had no further leaks.

The total cost of the plumbing works ($539.19) was completely covered under the Community Rebate Program. Shirley’s water use will be monitored over the next two readings in September 2018 and January 2019 to calculate the water savings passed on to the customer.

“Thank you again - I am very aware that water is a precious resource.” - Shirley

Community Housing Retrofit Pilot Program

In line with the Community Rebate Program, the Community Housing Retrofit Pilot Program provides assistance to not-for-profit emergency and community housing organisations which are owned or managed by community welfare organisations. The program is currently being trialed in the Melbourne metropolitan region, Central Highlands and Lower Murray regions.

This program has helped 260 community housing organisations save around 22 million litres of water per year and resulted in around $70,000 per year – or $250 per property per year.

For more information contact your local water corporation.

A tenant called Yarra Valley Water advising there was a leak at the property and concern for the high bills. The water usage increased to 9,648 litres per day equal to $4,300 for the quarter.

Yarra Valley Water identified that this property was owned by a not-for-profit agency and assessed eligibility for the State Government’s Community Housing Retrofit Pilot program.

The plumber attended the property to conduct an audit and found a large leak in the backyard. During the water audit the plumber also observed two leaking cisterns and found a leak resulting in a loss of eight litres of water per minute. Works were immediately undertaken to ensure leaks were repaired without further water wastage and to avoid the need for a second visit. The total amount spent at this property was $436.32 and was entirely covered by the program.

There has not been a full quarterly bill since the repairs, however, it is expected the usage to reduce back to the levels prior to the leak (2,142 litres per day) equal to $970 for the quarter. Yarra Valley Water is currently supporting the customer and will monitor the usage to ensure future bills are in line with the number of people residing at the property.

“I was really stressing about the water leaking in the backyard. The work is magnificent, I couldn’t be happier.” - Tenant residing

At another property, a plumber identified that the bath, shower and laundry taps were significantly leaking due to over tightened washers. The plumber recommended that quarter turn taps be installed to decrease the chances of future leaks from washers being over tightened.

All tenants involved in the program will experience a reduction in the amount of water usage and will see a decrease in the cost of their bills as a result.

“The tenant was over the moon with the works completed and appreciated the flexible hours of the plumber.” – Program Coordinator

Ways to Save

The Ways to Save house is an interactive tool to help customers save money on their utility bills by showing a series of tips on how to reduce consumption. It also has information about various Victorian Government incentives and programs relating to water, gas, and electricity to further assist customers in saving on their utility bills.

View the Ways to Save virtual house here.

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Rebates

There are a variety of concessions and benefits to eligible cardholders to assist low-income Victorians with water and sewerage bills. If you have a relevant concession card, you may be eligible for a concession.

To view the range of concessions visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Page last updated: 11/04/19