The NSW Government has unveiled a scheme which will see businesses, contractors and utilities pay water users for the water they use, with the goal of cutting costs.
Under the new ‘Cash for Water’ scheme, water companies will pay customers up to $30 per month, or $8 per 1,000 cubic metres of water used, for each cubic metre they use.
That amount will be deducted from their bills and businesses will be allowed to take a discount on the bill.
The Government says the cash-for-water scheme will cut water use by $10 per 1.2 million litres and save $2 billion over the next four years.
“It will help our businesses and businesses with contractors and suppliers and help with water efficiency,” NSW Treasurer Michael McCormack said.
In a statement the State Government said the program would “help small and medium-sized businesses, which have been struggling financially in recent years, cut their water bills and cut their utility bills.”
“We have a lot of infrastructure and infrastructure upgrades to make it more efficient, but there are still some things that we can’t afford to do and so this scheme is part of the package,” Mr McCormack told ABC TV.
Water and sewer services were estimated to be $2.7 billion in deficit last financial year, the biggest shortfall since 2004.
Mr McCormack has promised to slash the state’s budget deficit by a third over four years to about $1.2 billion by 2020-21, from the $2bn forecast in the 2016-17 budget.
But a large part of that savings will come from scrapping the controversial ‘cash on top’ water pricing scheme, which saw companies pay customers more for water when the amount they used went up.
A ‘cash-for’ scheme is the Government’s bid to reduce the state budget deficit.
The new scheme will cost businesses up to 30 cents more a month, with businesses also allowed to charge customers a discount.
Companies will also be allowed a 15 per cent discount on bills and utilities will be given $2,000 to $3,000 of water conservation grants a year, with up to two per cent of that amount going towards water conservation.
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