WATER delivery businesses around Castlemaine have slammed suggestions to raise standpipe water fees, saying it would hurt homeowners who were already struggling to get enough water.
The Mount Alexander Shire council wrote to agencies this week informing them water costs had more than doubled in price to $5 per 1000 litres, effective immediately. But council staff later retracted the notice and said the letter was mistakenly sent.
Mayor Michael Redden said fees had not gone up, but that the shire would consider reviewing the prices as part of the budget process in July.
“It is proposed to maintain the current prices until 30 June,” he said. “Council apologises for any concern and inconvenience that the uncertainty has caused.”
A and K Adams water delivery owner Andrew Adams said residents in rural parts of the shire that relied on tank water didn’t deserve a price rise. He said the costs would have had to be passed on to any customers.
“Why does everyone who lives off a tank have to suffer,” he said. “They’re already not watering their gardens as it is, while people in town pay a minimal price for water.”
Mr Adams estimated that the average costs – if the initial rise to $5 per 1,000 litres was in place – would have been about $40 for every delivery.
“For a delivery of 12,000 litres it would have gone up from about $160 to $200,” he said.
With a lack of water in recent months, Mr Adams said his business was operating 21 hours a day since December to cater for demand.
He said any price rise should not disadvantage people who use tank water and that their treatment was “unfair”.
Cr Redden said any price rise that council would vote on would likely to be minor, in line with indexed costs.