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Water resources and waste water disposal

Industry Commission inquiry report

This report was signed on 17 July 1992 and subsequently released by the Commonwealth Government. The report contains the findings of the Industry Commission public inquiry, in response to a request from the Commonwealth Government, to examine institutional, regulatory or other arrangement subject to influence by governments in Australia which lead to unsustainable and inefficient resource use and advise on how these institutional, regulatory or other arrangements might be revised.

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Inquiry report

Cover, Copyright, Signing page, Acknowledgement, Contents, Abbreviations


Terms of Reference, Overview and Recommendations

1 The Inquiry
1.1 Scope of the inquiry
1.2 The water sector
1.3 The Commission's approach

2 Pricing Practices and Performance
2.1 Pricing of urban WSD services
2.2 Pricing of irrigation water
2.3 Participants' views on shortcomings in current pricing
2.4 Institutional arrangements affect pricing policies

3 Are costs of service provision too high?
3.1 Sources of cost reductions
3.2 Comparisons of costs across authorities
3.3 Institutional arrangements affect the costs of service provision
3.4 The gains from more cost-effective service provision

4 Pricing Reform for Urban Water Services
4.1 Promoting better investment decisions
4.2 New investments in urban infrastructure
4.3 Pricing structure
4.4 What costs should be covered by prices?
4.5 Phasing in cost recovery on existing assets

5 Pricing of Irrigation Water and Drainage
5.1 General issues
5.2 Bulk water
5.3 Charges for in-system water distribution and drainage
5.4 The Burdkin Irrigation Area

6 Other Pricing Issues
6.1 Property based access changes
6.2 Developer provided assets and charges
6.3 Funding community service obligations
6.4 Calculation of capital charges
6.5 Dividend policies
6.6 Capital subsidies

7 Institutional and Administrative Arrangements
7.1 Opportunities for introducing competition
7.2 General principles for administrative and institutional reform
7.3 Urban water and sewerage provision
7.4 Corporatisation of urban WSD service providers
7.5 Privatisation of urban WSD service providers
7.6 Urban drainage
7.7 Irrigation water and drainage

8 Water Entitlements
8.1 Current allocation systems
8.2 The value of water entitlements
8.3 Improving the system of water entitlements
8.4 Auctioning of water entitlements

9 Environmental Pricing and Regulation
9.1 Sustainability and water use
9.2 Using markets to secure better outcomes
9.3 Regulatory reform
9.4 Monitoring and enforcement issues

10 Resource Management and Other Issues
10.1 Institutional reform
10.2 Non-price measures can encourage conservation
10.3 Research and extension


R1 Rural Water Issues

R2 Commission's Rural Water Findings

R3 Pace of Rural Reform

R4 Burdenkin River Irrigation Area: Case Study

R5 Kimberley Pipeline Proposal


A Information Sources

B Institutional Arrangements

C Pricing and Community Service

D Economy-Wide Gains from Productivity Improvements

E Rural Water Arrangements and Issues: State Summaries


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