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The 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 fittings
  • fixtures and appliances
  • fixing leaks around the property.

The program is run by each water corporation which sends a qualified plumber to undertake a water audit and retrofit.

The Community Rebate Program began in 2015 and has assisted over 18,000 customers across Victoria saving around $1.6 million a year in water bills (about $90 per household) and around 430 ML in water. That’s over 170 Olympic sized swimming pools!

If you want more information, contact your local water corporation.

Case study: Community Rebate Program

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 cardholder living with advanced arthritis and could not afford a plumber. Central Highlands Water identified she was eligible for the 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 2 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) was completely covered under the Community Rebate Program. Shirley’s water use will be monitored over the next 2 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

The Community Housing Retrofit Program provides the same service as the Community Rebate Program for emergency and community housing properties owned or managed by not-for-profit and community welfare organisations. The program is delivered across:

  • the Melbourne metropolitan region
  • Barwon
  • Central Highlands
  • Lower Murray regions.

Since launching in 2017, the program has helped over 1,200 community housing organisation properties save around 170 million litres of water per year and saved over $600,000 per year – or around $500 per property per year.

Case study: Community Housing Retrofit Pilot Program

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 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 2 leaking cisterns and found a leak resulting in a loss of 8 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.

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

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.

Department of Family, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) Rebates

There are a variety of concessions and benefits to eligible cardholders to assist low-income Victorians with water and sewerage bills.

You may be eligible for a concession if you have a relevant concession card.

Page last updated: 30/04/24