The Community Rebate Program and the Community Housing Retrofit Pilot Program are helping Victorians in need

Two innovative community rebate programs are now helping customers reduce their water bills.

The Community Rebate Program, delivered by Victorian urban water corporations since July 2015, has assisted almost 11,000 Victorian customers. The program that assists vulnerable and hardship customers has saved an estimated 212 million litres of water, equating to saving over $700,000 or $65 per customer over a year.

According to Victorian urban water corporations, many customers report having water leaks or inefficient appliances but are unable to afford the cost of repair or replacement.

Whether it is replacing a showerhead, changing to a dual or low-flush toilet, installing flow control devices or fix inefficient water fittings, the Community Rebate Program now allows for costs to be covered up-front by the grants program. Furthermore, the program does not require customers who are experiencing hardship or vulnerable situations to pay in the first instance and then get back the money.

A key element of the Community Rebate Program is educating and empowering vulnerable and hardship customers, so they can control their current and future water use through behaviour change. The program will continue until 2020 and is expected to assist an additional 5,000 customers.

A Community Housing Retrofit Pilot Program, which provides assistance for emergency and community housing that are owned or managed by community welfare organisations, is also being funded.

This pilot, which is being tested in Melbourne and the Central Highlands and Lower Murray regions. has helped over 300 community housing properties save around 32 million litres of water per year, equating to around $75,000 or $250 per property per year.