Navigate home logo
  • Extended Water Corporation partnership to enhance the financial wellbeing of customers and assist those experiencing hardship
  • More than 5,000 customers supported through a $4.7 million hardship funding program over the 2021-22 financial year
  • State Government ownership helps shield WA consumers from the pricing volatility experienced in the eastern states

Customers struggling with cost-of-living pressures will be supported in paying their water bill, through a renewed partnership with the Western Australian Council of Social Services (WACOSS) announced today by Water Minister Dave Kelly.

A new extended partnership between the Water Corporation and WACOSS will fund research for a further three years, to enhance tailored financial support to those experiencing financial hardship.

In the 2021-22 financial year, 5,138 customers benefited from financial care packages at the publicly-owned water utility - which takes a proactive and empathetic approach to supporting customers - via a $4.7 million hardship funding program.

The latest WACOSS research shows that customers unable to pay their utility bills employ various strategies to cope financially. Reducing spending on food and groceries was the most common tactic - regardless of the type of utility bill - likely to be used by 76 per cent of those unable to pay their water and electricity bills, and 79 per cent of those unable to pay their gas bills. This was closely followed by reducing spending on leisure activities.

The second way that financial hardship presents itself is when households restrict water and energy consumption to the detriment of health and wellbeing. This is distinct from utility billing hardship, as these households may pay their bills regularly and on time.

Informed by the WACOSS research, Water Corporation offers various flexible hardship programs, which can be tailored to meet different customer needs, circumstances, and repayment capacities. These programs include:

  • Time Assist: Accounts are placed on hold for three months to support customers when their circumstances unexpectedly change;
  • Water Assist: A regular, interest-free payment arrangement where Water Corporation matches any payment made by the customer. The customer must have an overdue amount over $750 and under $5,000, and have been assessed by a financial counsellor;
  • Medical Assist: Customers carrying out home dialysis or who qualify for the Continence Aids Payment Scheme will receive a free water allowance up to 30 kilolitres per household on every bill; and
  • Start Over: If customers with an overdue balance greater than $5,000 are able to make all their payments, Water Corporation matches the value of these payments as credit on their account. If they are able to continue making their payments for a second year, their entire outstanding balance is waived.

The research also highlights the importance of early intervention to minimise debt accumulation. Water Corporation will use data analytics to proactively contact customers who may be in hardship, with the most financially vulnerable customers managed by a specially trained Water Corporation financial care team.

In addition, Water Corporation funds financial counsellors through Vinnies' National Debt Helpline, allowing it to adjust and tailor its hardship programs and approaches to customers' needs.

Unlike privately-owned utilities in the eastern states, water pricing in WA is set by the State Government, meaning that all residential customers pay the same for the first 150 kilolitres of water used - regardless of where they live.

For information on help with paying your water bill, visit:

Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:

"While public ownership of our water and electricity utilities in WA has largely shielded households from the utility bill pricing volatility experienced over east, the McGowan Government remains committed to affordable water and energy services as cost-of-living pressures continue to bite.

"Water Corporation's renewed partnership with WACOSS will further enhance its innovative financial care programs, ensuring they're accessible, and meet the needs of vulnerable customers.

"I would encourage anyone struggling to pay their water bill to contact Water Corporation in the first instance - its flexible support options are there to help."

Premier's office - 6552 5000