Residential Customer Charter (full version)
This charter has been developed to clearly state our customer service commitments to you and inform you of your rights as a Yarra Valley Water customer.
I’m pleased to introduce our Residential Customer Charter. We’ve developed this charter to clearly state our customer service commitments to you and inform you of your rights as our customer. It focuses on the particular needs and concerns of households.
The initiatives outlined in this charter illustrate our dedication to serving you better, through committing to 24 hour service, responding efficiently to your enquiries, and providing high quality water and sewerage services.
I recommend you take the time to read this charter and keep it handy for future reference.
Who is Yarra Valley Water?
We’re one of Australia’s largest water utilities, providing water and sewerage services to over 2 million people and over 60,000 businesses in the northern and eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Our purpose is to support the health and wellbeing of our customers and create a brighter future for communities and the natural environment.
Established in January 1995, we maintain and operate over 21,000 kilometres of water, recycled water and sewer mains, 44 water supply tanks and 9 sewage treatment plants. We buy our water from Melbourne Water, which also operates the major sewage treatment works that service Melbourne.
We’re committed to providing you with the highest quality water and sewerage services as well as offering responsive customer support. We’re also dedicated to ensuring we deliver our services in ways that have minimal effect on the environment.
Our commitment to you
This charter outlines your rights and our obligations based upon the Water Industry Standard issued by the Essential Services Commission (ESC). The ESC is the economic regulator of the Victorian water industry and their responsibility is to protect the interests of water and sewerage customers.
This charter also incorporates feedback from customers about what matters the most to them when it comes to their water and sewerage services. We engaged extensively with customers as part of our 5-year planning process for 2023-28 – every 5 years we’re required to propose the prices we’ll charge and the service standards we’ll provide customers, to the ESC for their review. This has helped us identify what customers want and value the most. This led to the creation of 6 service outcomes based on the services we provide to customers now and the action we need to take now for the future.
- Water that is safe to drink.
- Water and sewerage services they can rely on.
- Fast response and effective restoration of their service when it’s interrupted.
- A service that is accessible and adaptable to meet their needs.
- Saving water now, so it’s available in the future.
- Looking after our natural environment.
Overarching these outcomes is a new commitment to embed a caring for Country philosophy across all our decisions and outcomes.
Detailed information about our commitments can be found in Appendix 2.
About this charter
This charter is focused on the particular needs of households. We also have a charter for business customers. If you would like copies of the charter in languages other than English, Easy English, Braille or large print, please contact us at [email protected] or 1300 304 688.
For hearing and speech impaired services, you can access TTY/voice calls on 13 36 77 and Speak and Listen on 1300 555 727.
The charter sets out your rights and obligations when dealing with us. It also sets out our rights and obligations. You may enter into a separate agreement with us. However, such agreements can’t reduce your rights or increase your obligations under the Customer Charter without returning some corresponding benefit to you.
We can only change our charter after consulting with customers and receiving the Essential Services Commission’s approval.
Shared rights and responsibilities
Generally, our service levels are guaranteed to the connection points at your property boundary. The connection point for water supply is usually identified by a water meter or stop tap at the property boundary that controls the flow of water to your property.
The connection point with our sewer branch is usually just inside your property boundary. To find out where your connection points are, call us on 1300 304 688.
When it comes to maintenance responsibilities, the general rule is that we’re responsible for maintaining the water service up to and including the property meter, and the sewer branch up to the property connection point or a maximum of one metre from the sewer main (whichever is shorter). All plumbing and pipe work from the property connection points to your residence are the property owner’s responsibility and is referred to as a private extension. In the case of an owners corporation or multi‑resident development, a private extension will supply many residences.
Customers who live in an owners corporation or multi-resident development and share a private extension need to be aware that we don’t guarantee continuity of supply, water quality, or service interruptions within the private extension.
However where individual water meters are installed, we’ll read and maintain the meter in order to calculate your water use for billing purposes. If you have any concerns about a private extension that supplies more than one property, these need to be addressed by the owners corporation or owner of your multi‑resident development.
Our service commitments
Your rights to water supply
We’ll ensure that the water we supply:
- Is in accordance with the Water Industry Standard.
- Meets the minimum flow rates set out below.
- Is safe, clear and free from objectionable odour and taste.
Subject to our general obligations under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, we’ll ensure the supply of drinking water to the outlet of the meter, or to the property boundary if there’s no meter, and that the quality of the water complies with the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act and regulations, Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, or any other requirement set by the Department of Health.
If you’re on a private extension, we’ll supply water:
- Up to the outlet of the main property meter, or
- To the point where the private extension connects to our water mains where there’s no property meter, or where the property is supplied by a private extension.
If there are private extensions after these access points, the property owner is responsible.
|Diameter of the property service pipe (millimetres)||20||25||32||40||50|
|Minimum flow rate (litres per minute)||20||35||60||90||160|
- Single residential properties (houses) usually have a property service pipe of 20mm diameter.
- The flow rate is measured at the water meter (or at the tap at the property boundary if a meter isn’t installed).
- The flow rate is otherwise measured at the outlet of the property service pipe. For safety reasons, measuring at the outlet of the water meter should only be done by our staff or a licensed plumber.
Customers are required to comply with all the terms and conditions of connecting to our water and sewerage systems. After you’ve paid for all applicable connection fees and products, you can request to connect to your property. We’ll connect your property within 10 working days or a later date as agreed.
We’re not required to provide a customer with the minimum flow rate if:
- The property service pipe (which is the customer’s responsibility to maintain) is damaged or in poor condition.
- There’s a planned or unplanned interruption of the customer’s water supply.
- There’s a water shortage due to peak summer demand.
- Service is provided via a private extension.
- Supply is restricted or disconnected in accordance with the Water Industry Standard.
- There’s a water shortage due to a drought or an emergency.
- Melbourne Water Corporation has informed us that the water supply should be reduced to avoid a water shortage in the future such as during water restrictions and permanent water saving rules.
- The Water Act 1989 (Vic) and the Water Industry Act 1994 (Vic) allow it.
If restrictions or permanent water saving rules are breached, we may restrict a customer’s water supply. Visit yvw.com.au/waterrules for more information.
Your rights to sewerage services
We’ll supply you with sewerage services that are in accordance with the Water Industry Standard. We’ll also take reasonable care in operating our sewerage system to avoid odours.
Your rights if services are below standard
If you believe we’re not meeting our standards, you can ask us to conduct tests. If the tests show we’re not meeting our standards, we’ll fix the problem as soon as possible or within a time agreed by you. If the tests show we are meeting service standards, you may be liable for the cost of the tests. However, if the problem can be attributed to private service infrastructure on the property, the property owner is responsible for fixing it.
Your rights to continuous service
We understand that any interruption to your drinking water, recycled water or sewerage service is inconvenient and disruptive. We work hard to provide you with continuous access to these services, but this isn’t always possible. We’ll make every reasonable effort to minimise the number of interruptions to your water supply and sewerage services and to provide a timely response to an emergency.
Where there’s an interruption to your water supply caused by a problem or fault in our system we’ll:
- Restore it within 4 hours of being notified.
- Ensure you have access to emergency water supplies for drinking purposes.
- Ensure that information about the interruption and how to obtain emergency water is available from our 24 hour faults line on 13 27 62.
- Use your preferred method of communication to give you one week’s notice of any planned interruptions to our services (including when they’ll occur and for how long).
- Ensure planned interruptions to your water supply don’t occur during the peak periods of 5 am to 9 am or 5 pm to 11 pm.
- Ensure there are no more than 2 unplanned interruptions to either your water supply or sewerage services in any 12-month period.
Please report bursts or leaks to us at yvw.com.au/reportfault, via the Snap Send Solve app or on 13 27 62. We’ll respond promptly to inspect and repair them. In serious incidents, we’ll get to the scene as soon as we can and solve the problem within 4 hours of interrupting the supply. In all other cases we’ll aim to inspect the problem within 7 hours and rectify the problem within 5 days. If your sewer becomes blocked please call us for advice on 13 27 62. If the blockage is our responsibility, we’ll correct the fault ourselves. If the blockage is your responsibility, you’ll have to arrange and pay for a licensed plumber to fix it.
Your rights in relation to sewage spills
Where a sewage spill occurs on your property due to a failure in our system, we’ll:
- Respond promptly.
- Minimise the damage and inconvenience to you by ensuring we contain the sewage spill as soon as possible – within one hour if the spill is inside your house and within 4 hours for other spills on your property.
- Clean up the affected area as quickly as possible and in such a manner that the risk to human health is negligible.
- Pay for all costs resulting from the spill.
If you’re not satisfied with the standard of clean up, please contact us so we can understand your concerns and work with you to resolve them. If you’re still dissatisfied with the standard of cleaning, seek the advice of the Environmental Health Officer at your local council. If the spill was caused by a blockage or problem with your property’s internal plumbing, you’ll have to arrange and pay for a licensed plumber to fix the blockage and pay for the spill to be cleaned up.
Your right to register special health needs
You have a right to register with us that you need water for a life support machine. You can also register other special medical needs with us. Once you’re registered, we’ll contact you at least one week before a planned interruption and as soon as possible after an unplanned interruption to minimise any inconvenience. We also provide water as a priority to major hospitals and emergency medical units.
Your right to collect rainwater, recycle greywater and install composting toilets
You have a right to collect and store rainwater for your own use. You can recycle greywater for non‑drinking purposes. You can also install a composting toilet that doesn’t need to connect to our water or sewerage systems. Before you collect rainwater, recycle greywater or install a composting toilet, you should think about the possible health issues and the risk of flooding. You should also contact your local council for advice and approvals where appropriate, as you need to comply with the requirements of the Health Act, the Building Act, the Environment Protection Authority Publication 891.3 Code of Practice Onsite Wastewater Management and 884 Greywater use around the home.
Buying or selling a property
If you’re buying or selling a property, we’ll provide prompt, accurate information to you, your conveyancer or solicitor, through our PropertyFlow service. For more information contact us on 1300 304 688.
Building or renovating
If you need additional connections to the water or sewerage mains, we’ll provide services to you or your plumber through our online system, easyACCESS. If you’re building or renovating, please ensure you seek advice to determine that there’s sufficient water pressure available to meet the needs of any changes at your property.
If you need additional connections to the mains; you, your plumber or builder can submit an application online. In completing your application, we’ll provide our Conditions of Connection.
It is the property owner(s) responsibility to ensure all conditions have been satisfied.
Your right to compensation
We’ll provide our services with due care and skill and meet our obligations under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Any materials provided in connection with this service will be reasonably fit for the purpose they’re intended. If we fail to perform our functions adequately causing you financial loss, you may be able to claim compensation.
Service commitments and rebates
We’re committed to high standards of performance. If we fail to meet these standards, you may be eligible for a rebate on your bill. Appendix 2 outlines our service commitments. We’ll provide a rebate automatically to you whenever we become aware that we’ve failed to meet a commitment. If you believe you’re entitled to a rebate you can apply by contacting us at [email protected] or on 1300 304 688. We’ll review your request and if eligible, we’ll deduct any rebate from your next account.
For more information:
- Email us at [email protected]
- Call us on 1300 651 511
For all development applications via easyACCESS:
- Visit yvw.com.au/applications
Charges and billing
Charges and rates
We bill you for:
- Water Supply and Sewerage System Charges – fixed charges for running, maintaining and repairing the water supply and sewerage systems.
- Usage Charges – variable water and sewer usage charge.
- Other Authority Charges – rates on behalf of Melbourne Water for waterways and drainage, and Parks Victoria for Parks services.
As the owner of a property you pay for:
- Water Supply and Sewerage System Charges, and Usage Charges, unless a renter must pay them as outlined below.
- Any rates we bill on behalf of Parks Victoria for parks services and Melbourne Water for waterways and drainage from customers who own a property within Melbourne Water’s Waterways Management District.
As a renter or caravan park resident you’ll only pay charges for usage (water and sewer) where:
- Your water has its own meter.
- You’re registered as the renter.
- We’ve read the meter or estimated your usage if we can’t access the meter.
As an owners corporation development or central body for multi residences, we’ll bill you for usage charges relating to common land and facilities, e.g. a common grounds watering system. We may also bill you for usage charges for residences on your site that don’t have their own water meter.
Reducing your bill
Using water efficiently can help to reduce the usage charges on your account. We’ll provide you with water efficiency advice to help you save. Visit yvw.com.au/savingwater for details.
Your rights with regards to charges
When there are any changes to usage, water supply and sewerage system charges, we’ll advertise them and also tell you about them with your first account after the change takes place.
If charges change during a billing cycle, the new charges will only apply from the date they take effect. Our schedule of fees and charges are available at yvw.com.au/pricing.
We’ll bill all charges quarterly and include information with your account to help you understand these charges.
We can also issue bills to a nominated agent or any other person authorised to act on your behalf, if you’ve advised us in writing.
Under or overcharging
If we overcharge you, we’ll inform you within 10 days of confirming the error and you’ll receive a credit or refund.
If we undercharge you due to our error, we’ll only seek to recover sums incurred during the 4 months before we notified you of the undercharging. The amount will be separately identified and explained on your bill. You’ll be able to pay the amount to be recovered in instalments or under a flexible payment plan. If we’ve undercharged you due to your illegal use of water, the amount we’ll seek to recover won’t be limited to the amount undercharged in the 4 months before we notified you of it. We’ll also need to estimate the usage that hasn’t been paid.
You can choose to add a representative or support person to your account and we’ll communicate with them.
Paying your account
You must pay your account by the due date on your bill. Payment methods include:
- Direct debit by bank account or credit card
- Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
- Credit card - online at yvw.com.au/paying, via your online account at yvw.com.au/ online or by phone on 1300 362 332.
- In person at any post office, phone 13 18 16 or go to postbillpay.com.au.
- Centrepay if you receive a Centrelink payment.
For the latest payment methods, please refer to your account, visit yvw.com.au/pay or call 1300 304 688.
We may recover costs incurred if your payment is dishonored due to insufficient funds. We won’t pass these costs on if you have a recognised concession card and you’re receiving financial assistance from us.
Flexible payment arrangements
We’ll make flexible payment plans available to you in accordance with your capacity to pay. A flexible payment plan will:
- State how we’ve calculated the payment amounts.
- State how long you’ll pay the agreed amounts for.
- Specify the amount to be paid and how often.
- Be able to be modified at your request to accommodate a change in your circumstances.
- Be confirmed in writing to you as soon as possible after it starts.
We’re not required to offer a flexible payment plan if in the 12 months before you’ve had 2 flexible payment plans cancelled due to non-payment, unless you can provide reasonable assurance you’ll comply with the plan.
For more information about flexible payment arrangements, visit yvw.com.au/smoothpay or call us on 1800 994 789.
You’re eligible for State Government funded concessions on your water and sewerage charges if you hold a recognised concession card such as a Pensioner Concession Card, Health Care Card or Gold Card (for all conditions except Dependant).
For details of entitlements and to register your concession with us, visit yvw.com.au/concessions or call us on 1300 304 688.
If you’re having trouble paying your account, please contact us on 1800 994 789 or at [email protected]. Our team will treat you with respect and dignity and we can offer support and flexibility to suit your situation, including:
- Providing information on government concessions and grants that may be available to you.
- Arranging an alternative payment scheme that takes account of your capacity to pay.
- Referring you to free and independent financial counselling services and other service providers’ support programs.
- Providing advice to reduce your water use and your bill.
For more information, visit yvw.com.au/financial-help.
Assistance may include:
- Allowing you to modify the payment amount to accommodate a change in your circumstances.
- Enabling you to choose from various payment methods.
- Offering to extend the due date of your bill for some or all of the amount owed.
- Help to apply for government assistance and grants.
- Not restricting your water supply as long as you’re making payments according to our agreed to a payment arrangement.
- Not charging you debt recovery costs and shielding you from legal action, while you make payments according to our agreed payment plan.
- Redirect your bill to another person for payment, provided that person agrees in writing.
You can view our Hardship Policy at yvw.com.au/hardship or call us on 1800 994 789 to request a copy.
Family violence support
Our dedicated WaterCare Support Team are trained to help people experiencing family violence. You will only have to explain your situation once and no extra proof is required.
We’ll keep your information confidential
If you’re affected by family violence, we’ll respect your safety and privacy at all times. We won’t disclose any information you give us to anyone else, even if their name is on the account. Also, only our WaterCare Support Team will have access to your personal details. Your personal and billing information can’t be accessed by other staff.
If your joint account hasn’t been paid
We provide support and assistance if you’re affected by family violence and have been left with debt. We’ll work with you to find a solution for your individual situation. If there are multiple account holders, we can elect who we pursue for the outstanding balance.
For more information including access to our policy, visit yvw.com.au/fvsupport or call our WaterCare Support Team on 1800 637 316.
Buying, selling and leasing property
If you’re buying, selling or transferring your property
You don’t need to contact us about the property you’re buying or selling or to finalise your account. Your solicitor or conveyancer will manage the water usage and final bill for your property as part of the settlement process. We’ll also create an account for your new property (if it’s in our area) as part of the settlement process.
If you’re not using a solicitor or conveyancer to manage the sale of your property, you can call us on 1300 304 688.
If you’re a renter moving out of a rental property
To organise your final bill, at least 2 days before moving out please:
- Advise us of your move out date at yvw.com.au/moving or call us on 1300 304 688.
- Tell us your forwarding address for your final bill. Your final bill will usually arrive within one week of the date you move out.
- Ensure we have access to your water meter to take a final reading – this means you won’t need to pay for water usage after you’ve moved out.
If you don’t notify us within 2 days of moving out, we’ll finalise your account 2 days after we receive your request.
Restricting or disconnecting water
We’ll make all reasonable efforts to help you pay your account. We’ll send a reminder notice to you and if you haven’t paid within 15 business days, we’ll send you a final notice in reference to non-payment and information about our Hardship Policy. We may take legal action or restrict your water supply in order to recover the debt. You are likely to face additional costs if either of these steps are taken.
Restricting water and legal action
We won’t restrict your water supply or start legal action:
- Within 15 business days of issuing a final notice.
- If you have an outstanding application for an eligible concession card or a utility relief grant.
- Without reasonably trying to contact you and offering payment assistance.
- Without explaining alternative payment options or giving you a chance to get the benefit of a concession or utility relief grant.
- If there’s a dispute as to the amount owing.
- If you owe less than $300.
- If you’re a renter and your rent provider is responsible for the debt.
- If you’re experiencing financial difficulty.
We won’t restrict your water supply:
- If you need water for a life support machine or other special needs.
- After 3 pm on Monday to Thursday, on a Friday, a weekend, a public holiday or the day before a public holiday.
- If the restriction will cause a health hazard having taken into consideration any customer concerns.
- If it’s a day of total fire ban declared by the Country Fire Authority or Fire Rescue Victoria in the area you live.
We may also restrict or disconnect your water supply for other reasons if, for example, the pipes on the property aren’t properly constructed or maintained, or you’ve breached the Water Act 1989. We won’t restrict or disconnect a renter’s water supply if the owner hasn’t paid outstanding charges the owner is responsible for, unless we need to restrict or disconnect to protect water purity, public health or safety, the environment, or our water supply system.
We’ll promptly reconnect your water supply when:
- The reason for disconnection no longer persists, or
- We’ve accepted the steps you’ll take to comply (that you’ve sent to us in writing), or
- When you’ve paid.
Minimum flow rate during restriction
If your water supply is restricted, the flow rate will be at least 2 litres per minute at the tap nearest the meter. If the restriction will cause a health hazard, call us on 13 27 62.
Restoring water supply
When the reason for restriction or disconnection has been resolved or we’ve accepted the steps you’ll take to comply (that you’ve sent to us in writing), we’ll restore your water supply on payment of a fee. This will be done within 24 hours.
Your water usage is based on the amount of water measured by a meter. We’ll use reasonable endeavors to ensure we read your meter each quarter or at least every 12 months.
Access to your water meter
Your meter must be accessible so we can read it regularly. Where we can’t read your meter, we may ask you to read it on our behalf. We’ll advise you if we need you take a reading and the ways you can submit it. You’ll also be able to request an adjusted bill. You won’t be charged for a meter reading you’ve taken or for the adjusted bill.
If you don’t provide a reading, we may estimate the amount of water you use. The estimation will be calculated on your water usage history and we’ll make any necessary adjustments the next time we read your meter.
If you can’t make your meter accessible to us, we can arrange for a remote reading device to be fitted, on payment of a fee. A remote meter reading system may be installed in a multi-unit development so that meters can be read from a single location. Installing a remote meter reading system must still comply with access requirements as outlined above.
Testing your meter
We take all reasonable steps to ensure your meter reads accurately. If you think your meter is inaccurate, you can ask us to test it. All meter testing is carried out by an independent company to a nationally approved standard. We’ll provide you with the results of the test within 5 working days after it’s done.If the test shows that the meter isn’t meeting required accuracy standards, we’ll replace it. We’ll also credit your account with any amount you were overcharged. If the test shows that the meter was working accurately, you’ll be responsible for paying the cost of the test.
Special meter reading
At any time including when you’re moving in or out of your home, you can ask for an additional account or meter reading outside the normal billing cycle. If we need to read your meter, a fee may apply. We won’t charge a fee if you provide a meter reading you’ve taken yourself, your property has a digital meter or you’re receiving assistance under our customer support policy.
Don’t remove your water meter
We own the water meters on customers’ properties. They shouldn’t be removed under any circumstances. Only our plumbing contractor is permitted to remove water meters.
Responsibilities for maintenance
Water supply and sewerage services
The general rule is we’re responsible for maintaining the water service up to and including the property meter.
In the following situations, we’re responsible for maintaining:
- The water service to the property boundary if the meter is more than 2 metres inside the property boundary.
- The sewer branch up to the property connection point or a maximum of one metre from the sewer main (whichever is shorter).
- Up to the property connection point where a stop valve or tap controls the flow of water to your private extension.
In the case of owners corporation developments or multi-resident developments, we’re responsible for maintaining:
- The water service up to and including the main property meter, which is usually located at the property boundary.
- The water service to the property boundary if the meter is more than 2 metres inside the property boundary.
- Up to the first accessible stop valve from the water main if the meter is located inside a structure or building. This may be some distance from your residence.
- Individual meters (excluding private extensions to individual meters) where they’re installed.
If the property has a private fire service, we’re responsible for maintaining up to the stop valve at the main. Property owners are responsible for the private fire service.
All plumbing and pipe work from our water and sewer connection points to your residence (private extensions) are the responsibility of the property owner.
Galvanised iron pipes
Many properties in older areas have galvanised iron property service pipes. These pipes have a detrimental impact on water quality and pressure. We’ll replace a galvanised iron property service pipe at no charge if you replace the galvanised iron pipes on your side of the meter. This will ensure optimum water quality and flow to your property.
If a galvanised iron property service pipe needs replacing and you choose not to replace it, you’ll be responsible for the cost of replacing the property service pipe up to $500. We’ll pay any costs in excess of $500. This only applies to single residential dwellings and where the replacement is for any reason other than leakage. We’ll replace a leaking galvanised iron property service pipe at no cost to the customer.
Exceptions to the general rule are:
- Property service pipes with a diameter over 50mm.
- Private extensions.
- Property service pipes from private extensions.
We rely on the cooperation of our customers to maintain the integrity and stability of our water and sewerage systems.
Property owners must:
- Seek our consent for any building or construction work which might interfere with a service or system.
- Not alter any works connected to any of our services, systems or works without our consent.
Our rights and your right of review and appeal
We can require property owners to remove trees and contribute to the cost of works we’ve undertaken. We’ll exercise this right in accordance with the Water Act 1989 and the Water Industry Standard. If you object to a decision we’ve made exercising our rights, you can have the decision reviewed by us and, in some cases, by the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. We’ll explain your rights when exercising our rights or making decisions.
Notice of works
Our activities may affect you even if your water supply or sewerage service isn’t impacted, e.g. when we need to dig up the road outside your house to fix a pipe. We’ll give you one week’s notice of works that may affect you, except in an emergency. Where we undertake any works, we’ll leave the street or property in a state similar to when works commenced. Any works we undertake will comply with safety standards set by VicRoads or any other relevant safety standard.
Entry onto your property
We have the right to enter your property for a number of purposes such as reading a meter or in an emergency. We’ll give you one week’s notice in writing of our intention to enter your property to carry out any works, except in an emergency, or unless you consent to a shorter period. We don’t have to give you notice to enter your property to read a meter. We will not enter your property between the hours of 6 pm to 7:30 am unless we have your consent, there’s an emergency, or we have reasonable grounds to believe there’s been a breach of the Water Act 1989. Our employees or contractors will carry identification at all times which must be provided on request.
If you’re not at home, we’ll leave a notification behind to let you know that we came by and the reason for our visit.
You must tell us of dangers
We request you inform us of anything on your property that may be dangerous to our employees, e.g. a guard dog.
Consultation, information and privacy
Engaging and involving customers
We have established a Community Advisory Group to enable community input into our service planning and decision making. Members come from a wide variety of backgrounds. We value the contribution all members make to our business. In addition, we ask customers for feedback about our performance regularly and publish our performance results at least once a year.
Water quality, conservation and the environment
Excluding private extensions which we don’t control, we’ll:
- Monitor water quality and publish the results.
- Provide water and sewerage services that meet sustainable standards of environmental care. We’ll achieve this by continuously improving our environmental performance and addressing the expectations of our customers, the community and the government.
- Demonstrate a long term commitment to our customers and the community at large that we’re active and effective in relation to water conservation and the efficient use of water. We’ll achieve this by contributing to and publishing the Water Outlook for Melbourne each year.
- Publish results of our environmental performance each year.
Proactive customer engagement
We’ll use reasonable endeavors to determine your preferred method of communication and use it where possible. This includes proactively contacting you with information and assistance such as water and sewerage service interruptions and payment assistance options.
Requests for information
On request we’ll provide you with information such as:
- Copies of our customer charters – visit yvw.com.au/charters.
- Copies of the ESC’s Water Industry Standard – visit esc.vic.gov.au.
- Your account history, including water used, charges and payments (your last 3 years’ history is available on computer so we can answer questions over the phone). We’ll also provide a copy of your account and usage history within 10 days of a request.
- An Information Statement (for a fee) stating encumbrances or outstanding orders, and outstanding charges for any property in our area.
- Educational material about using water efficiently.
- Current prices and contact numbers.
- Information materials for customers with special communication needs.
- Information about our complaints handling process, including the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria.
Unless stated otherwise, we won’t charge you for information or advice.
We may refuse to provide account information and usage history if it contravenes our Family Violence Policy. For more information, visit yvw.com.au/fvsupport.
We recognise that your privacy is of great importance and we’re committed to protecting your personal information. We collect personal and water use information for the purpose of providing water and sewerage related services and products, which includes billing and collection activities, promoting these services and products and market research.
We may also use this information to proactively identify, contact and engage with you about your water and sewerage services. We may disclose your personal and water use information to our contractors for these purposes and other third parties including Melbourne Water and Parks Victoria.
Where we hold your personal information in conjunction with others (e.g. where your account is a joint one), we won’t disclose your personal details to other account holders without your permission. Please contact us if you wish to arrange for someone else to have access to your account details. You may request access to your personal information that we hold by writing to the Privacy Officer at Yarra Valley Water, Private Bag 1, Mitcham VIC 3132. Please note, we may charge you the reasonable cost of processing your request.
Enquiries, complaints and disputes
You can also write to us at Yarra Valley Water, Private Bag 1, Mitcham VIC 3132. We’ll reply to your letter within 4 working days of receiving it, and within one day of receiving your email.
If you experience any problems with your water or sewerage services, call us on 13 27 62. We’re available to take your call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you have a complaint, please contact our Customer Care Team at [email protected] or on 1300 304 688. You can also write to us at Yarra Valley Water, Private Bag 1, Mitcham VIC 3132.
We’ll respond promptly to your complaint and do our best to resolve the problem to your satisfaction. Our reply will give the reasons for our decision.
If you’re not satisfied with our reply, our disputes procedure gives you the following rights:
- You can have the complaint reassessed by a case manager.
- You can also to seek external resolution of a problem that can’t be resolved to your satisfaction by other means. You can contact the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria on 1800 500 509, at ewov.com.au or by mail to EWOV, Reply Paid 469, Melbourne VIC 8060. The Ombudsman provides an independent complaints and dispute resolution scheme to assist water and energy customers. Depending on the nature of the problem, you may also contact the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Environment Protection Authority Victoria or the courts. Our Customer Care Team will advise you further about these options.
Disputes over money
If your complaint involves a dispute over money you owe, we won’t seek payment of the amount owed unless the dispute has been resolved in our favour. However, you must pay any other portion of your account that doesn’t directly relate to your complaint.
For information on our complaints process, please visit yvw.com.au/feedback.
Appendix 1 - Definition of common terms
Charter is a summary of the customer’s rights and obligations as outlined in the Water Industry Standard issued by the Essential Services Commission. It’s intended to be a guide for practical purposes, and isn’t intended to have legal effect or be a substitute for statutory, contractual or other legal requirements.
Complaint means a written or verbal expression of dissatisfaction about an action, a proposed action, or a failure to act by Yarra Valley Water, its employees or contractors.
Customer broadly means someone who buys our water or discharges waste into our sewerage system. A person is a customer and is covered by the charter if they:
- Own and occupy a property that’s connected to, and serviced by, Yarra Valley Water’s water supply and/or sewerage systems.
- Own a property that’s connected to, and serviced by, Yarra Valley Water’s water supply and/or sewerage systems, but don’t occupy it, e.g. a rental provider or an owner of an unoccupied property.
- Occupy a property connected to Yarra Valley Water’s water supply and/or sewerage systems and are liable to pay the water and sewer usage charge, e.g. a renter or caravan park resident, or
- Have entered into a separate written agreement with Yarra Valley Water for water supply and sewerage services.
Enquiry means a written or verbal approach by a customer that can be satisfied by providing written or verbal information, advice, assistance, clarification, explanation, or referral about a matter.
Greywater consists of all non toilet wastewater. It includes wastewater from showers, spas, baths, hand basins, washing machines, dishwashers and laundry troughs.
Interruption means, in the case of a customer’s water supply, a total loss of water supply to the property; or in the case of a customer’s sewerage service, the customer is unable to dispose of sewage through the sewer pipes on their property into Yarra Valley Water’s sewerage system.
Maintenance includes repair and/or replacement.
Multi-resident development means a group of units or allotments that may or may not share common property other than those covered by a registered plan of subdivision.
Owners corporation development means a group of units or allotments that share common property. This may include infrastructure or land. An owners corporation development is incorporated by registering a plan of subdivision.
Payment difficulties is where a customer wants to pay, but due to financial difficulties is unable to pay within the timeframe set out in our payment terms.
Planned interruption means an interruption to sewer or water supply that’s caused by Yarra Valley Water to allow planned works to be carried out.
Private extension means the pipes and associated fittings from the water and sewer property connection points (usually located at the property boundary) to the customer’s property. A private extension may supply a single residence or multiple residences in the case of an owners corporation development or multi-resident development. The property owner is responsible for maintaining private extensions. Private extensions also cover assets previously defined as trunk services and combined drains.
Private fire service is a privately owned and maintained asset for fire protection and it’s essential it operates effectively in an emergency situation. A fire service includes all pipework and assets into a property excluding the stop valve on Yarra Valley Water’s main and the water meter (where fitted).
Property service pipe means the pipe from Yarra Valley Water’s water main to the meter assembly, or to the stop tap near the property boundary where no meter is fitted.
Recycled water means Class A recycled water supplied by a third pipe and as defined in the EPA Victoria publication 464.2 Guidelines for Environmental Management: Use of Reclaimed Water.
Renter means a customer who rents a property from another person.
Rental provider means any person who leases a property to a customer.
Sewage means any human excreta or domestic waterborne waste, whether untreated or partially treated. It doesn’t include trade waste or stormwater.
Sewerage services means the functions described in Part 9 of the Water Act 1989.
Trade waste has the definition given in regulations made under the Water Act 1989.
Unplanned interruption means an interruption that’s caused by a fault in Yarra Valley Water’s system or a fault which is Yarra Valley Water’s maintenance responsibility.
Water means both drinking water and recycled water unless otherwise stated.
Water Act 1989 includes any amendments of or regulations under that Act.
Water Industry Act 1994 includes any amendments of or regulations under that Act.
Water Industry Standard means the Water Industry Standard – Urban Customer Service, issued by the Essential Services Commission on 27 September 2022.
Appendix 2 - Service commitmens
We’re committed to providing you with high standards of service. If we fail to meet these standards you may be eligible for a rebate if you occupy a property that we supply. The rebates granted on these service commitments have been approved by the Essential Services Commission. Rebates are applied automatically without you needing to apply. We’re not required to give a rebate if an event is caused by, or is the responsibility of, the customer concerned or a third party.
$50 rebate for planned interruptions to water and sewer
Sometimes we undertake planned works on our pipes and other infrastructure.
We may need to turn off the water or interrupt sewerage services to inspect or replace a pipe.
We’ll give you a $50 rebate if:
- We interrupt your water for more than 5 hours.
- We fail to give at least one week’s notice of planned water interruptions.
- The planned interruption is longer than we said it would be.
- We interrupt your water between 5 am and 9 am or 5 pm and 11 pm.
$50 rebate for unplanned interruptions to water and sewer
Sometimes emergencies happen when our water mains burst or sewers become blocked which means we need to turn the water or sewer off without warning.
We’ll give a $50 rebate if:
- Your water supply is lost for more than 4 hours – you’ll receive an additional $50 if this extends to more than 12 hours.
- We fail to restore a sewerage service within 4 hours – you’ll receive an additional $50 if this extends to more than 12 hours. This doesn’t include sewer service interruptions caused by your pipe work.
- You experience more than 2 unplanned water or sewerage interruptions during any 12-month period – $50 for the third and each subsequent unplanned interruption.
- You contact us about 2 or more separate water quality issues in a 12-month period – $50 for the third and each subsequent issue.
At different times in our lives our needs change which can sometimes result in financial difficulty. To help in these times, we have a Hardship Policy which defines our approach to supporting customers experiencing either temporary or ongoing financial difficulty. This policy ensures all customers requiring additional support are treated with respect and sensitivity and shielded from their water supply being restricted and further recovery action. We’ll therefore provide a $300 rebate if we commence legal action or take steps to restrict a residential customer’s water supply before taking reasonable steps to contact the customer and provide information about the help that’s available for customers experiencing financial difficulty.
Rebates for sewage spills caused by a fault in our sewerage system
We know sewage spills cause particular inconvenience and concern. We’ll therefore give the following rebates to customers if:
- We fail to contain a sewage spill within your house within one hour of it being reported to us – $1,000 rebate.
- You experience a subsequent sewage spill in your house within 12 months which isn’t contained within one hour of it being reported to us – $2,000 rebate.
- We fail to contain a sewage spill on your property within 4 hours of it being reported to us – $1,000 rebate.
- You experience a subsequent sewage spill on your property within 12 months which isn’t contained within 4 hours of it being reported to us – $2,000 rebate.
- If we don’t provide an adequate water flow rate (unless there’s a restriction in place), we’ll waive the Water Supply System Charge until we meet the minimum standard rate.
- If we don’t reply to your contact within 4 working days, you’ll receive a $50 rebate.
We know providing safe, clean drinking water is our number one priority and we take this role seriously.
Sometimes this means we need to advise customers to boil their water before using it or to not drink or use the water – these are called water quality advisory notices.
If we issue any water quality advisory notice, we’ll pay a community rebate of:
- $5,000 per local government area where less than 50 customers are affected.
- $10,000 per postcode where 50 or more customers are affected.
We’ll also pay the cost of buying bottled water.
Customer service code standards
Consistent with the requirements outlined in the ESC’s Service Standards we’ve also set additional service and other targets that we aim to meet over the coming years.
These commitments don’t attract a rebate.
2023-24 to 2027-28
Average time taken to attend bursts and leaks (priority 1) (minutes)
Average time taken to attend bursts and leaks (priority 2) (minutes)
Average time taken to attend bursts and leaks (priority 3) (minutes)
|Maximum number of unplanned water supply interruptions a customer may experience in any 12-month period||2|
Average duration of unplanned water supply interruptions (minutes)
Average duration of planned water supply interruptions (minutes)
2023-24 to 2027-28
Average time to attend sewer spills and blockages (minutes)
Average time to rectify a sewer blockage (minutes)
Maximum number of sewer blockages a customer may experience in any 12-month period
Maximum time taken to contain a sewer spill (minutes)
Minimum flow rates
Property service pipe diameter (millimetres)
Flow rate (litres per minute)
Customer driven outcomes for 2023-24 to 2027-28
When we consulted with customers during our 5-year planning process for 2023-24 to 2027-28, our customers told us that the following 6 outcomes and 17 measures are important to them.
We’re committed to achieving these outcomes and if an outcome isn’t achieved, we’ll return $1.8 million the following year through a community rebate for each outcome not achieved.
Safe and pleasant drinking water
Compliance with Safe Drinking Water Regulations (2015) (water sampling health parameters and regulatory audit)
|Number of non-compliances||
|Customers who agree we provide great drinking water (‘strongly agree’ or ‘somewhat agree’ responses in our ongoing survey)||% of customers surveyed||≥91%||≥91%||≥91%||≥91%||≥91%|
|Reliable water and sewerage services||Customers who experience 3 or more unplanned interruptions||Number of customers||<7,000||<7,000||<7,000||<7,000||<7,000|
|Customers who experienced an interruption this year and more than 5 in total over 3 years||Number of customers||<3,572||<3,572||<3,572||<3,572||<3,572|
|Timely response and repair||Customers’ satisfaction with the restoration of their services (planned and unplanned interruptions) (‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ responses in our ongoing survey)||% of customers surveyed||≥91%||≥91%||≥91%||≥91%||≥91%|
|Customers whose water or sewerage service wasn’t restored within 4 hours (planned and unplanned interruptions)||% of customers||≤4.85%||≤4.85%||≤4.85%||≤4.85%||≤4.85%|
|Customers whose water or sewerage service wasn’t restored within 12 hours (planned and unplanned interruptions)||% of customers||≤0.35%||≤0.35%||≤0.35%||≤0.35%||≤0.35%|
Service that meets everyone's needs
Customers’ satisfaction with their most recent interaction with us (‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ responses in our ongoing survey)
|% of customers surveyed||
Customers, who accessed our support services, believe Yarra Valley Water helped them with their bills (‘strongly believe’ or ‘somewhat believe’ responses in our ongoing survey)
|% of customers surveyed||
|Saving water for the future||Water lost from Yarra Valley Water's supply system||% of water available||≤7.8%||≤7.5%||≤7.3%||≤7.3%||≤7.3%|
|Recycled water used in areas where it’s available
% of total water used
|% of total water used||3.7%||4.4%||4.4%||4.4%||8.7%|
|Average household water use (litres per property per day)||Average litres used by households each day||399||398||396||393||388|
|Business customers who use more than 100ML (100 million litres) of water a year, who have an active water efficiency plan||% of customers||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%|
|Looking after our natural environment||Hectares of land we actively manage to preserve and restore biodiversity and natural habitats||Hectares of land||9||11||13||45||47|
|Volume of sewage spills reported to the EPA as having a material impact to the environment||Kilolitres||≤5,000||≤5,000||≤5,000||≤5,000||≤5,000|
|Number of customers who were on septic tanks and are now connected to the sewerage network||Number||>200||>200||>200||>200||>200|
Percentage of energy requirements met from renewables
|% of all energy||
Appendix 3 - Using recycled water
We produce Class A recycled water according to strict guidelines developed by the Environment Protection Authority Victoria and the Department of Health. We ensure these high standards through process control and quality assurance systems including continuous monitoring throughout the treatment facility.
While Class A recycled water has been treated to a high standard, it’s not intended for human consumption.
Testing and monitoring the quality and integrity of the recycled water system may involve occasionally adding substances to recycled water to allow us to detect non-compliant connections.
From time to time at our discretion, we may need to temporarily supply you with drinking water instead of recycled water. You’ll still be charged recycled water prices if we supply drinking water instead of recycled water.
Recycled water is suitable for:
- Toilet flushing.
- Washing clothes.
- Garden use.
- Washing cars.
- Filling ornamental ponds*.
- Industrial uses approved by the Department of Health.* The water may need to be changed regularly as algae may grow due to the nutrients in recycled water.
Class A recycled water isn’t suitable for:
- Cooking, preparing food or other kitchen use.
- Showering and bathing.
- Bidets and sanitary sprays.
- Evaporative coolers.
- Indoor house cleaning.
- Swimming pools or spas.
- Children’s slip and slides or other water toys.
If you’d like to discuss using recycled water, please contact us at ma[email protected] or 1300 304 688.
Please note, access to recycled water may be discontinued if you use it for purposes it isn’t suitable for.
As a customer in our recycled water area you can expect:
- A recycled water supply that meets regulatory health requirements established by the Department of Health and environmental standards established by the Environment Protection Authority.
- Recycled water supply that isn’t interrupted more than 2 times in a 12-month period due to unplanned events.
- Planned interruptions to your recycled water supply won’t occur during peak hours (5 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 11 pm) and won’t take longer than 5 hours.
- When there’s an unplanned recycled water supply interruption, we’ll turn off the water as soon as possible to reduce leakage, and restore it within 4 hours.
- That where a burst recycled water main threatens substantial or moderate property or environmental damage, we’ll attend the site as soon as we can after being notified.
For more information, visit yvw.com.au/recycledwater.
Residential customer rebates
We’re committed to delivering high standards of service. If we fail to meet this commitment to you by not meeting our guaranteed service levels, you’ll be eligible for a rebate on your next bill.
These rebates, as outlined in the service commitments section of this charter, apply to both planned and unplanned (emergency) works, and drinking water and recycled water.
Your quarterly account will generally include 2 types of charges for both drinking and recycled water. The first are fixed water supply and sewerage system charges and the second are volumetric charges relating to water usage and sewage disposal, based on meter readings taken 4 times a year.
Class A recycled water has its own meter and charges will appear separately on your account.
1300 304 688
Faults & emergencies
13 27 62 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Free translating & interpreting service
1300 914 361
1300 921 362
1300 931 364
1300 927 363
For all other languages please call 03 9046 4173 (local call cost in Australia) 8:30 am - 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
Email [email protected]
Lucknow Street Mitcham Victoria 3132
Private Bag 1 Mitcham Victoria 3132
ABN 93 066 902 501