Desalination costs expand again – now water prices will double

Sydney Water’s debt is set to double – to $7.5 billion – as its bottom line is hit by borrowing for the proposed desalination plant at Kurnell and plunging revenue caused by water restrictions.

But Sydney Water’s chief, Kerry Schott, defended the debt, saying it “hasn’t got to a level that would make you stay awake at night”. However, she warned she would become very concerned if the independent pricing tribunal did not approve the big rises in household and business water bills she asked for this week.

“We are heading into a lot of debt and we do need some price rises to help us pay the interest on it,” she told the Herald.

Funny – seems only recently they were going to go up by a third. Amazing what borrowing money you don’t want for projects you don’t need can do to your need to raise taxes (and let’s be clear on what this is).

Again – I think water is much too cheap in Australia. However, the prices should increase in a manner that encourages sustainable use – not because our state government of PFI-Third-Way tits decided to load up on debt for an unnecessary infrastructure roll-out.

And this – again – is for a billion-dollar monster than will only, at best, cover some 15% of supply. We’re hardly even investing in our capacity, even removing the extent to which our money (read: taxes, which, again, is what this is) is being used to pay lenders their interest.

I hope the government got our goddamn money’s worth in campaing contributions.


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