Yarra Valley Water


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Our performance in 2023-24

In 2023-24, we worked towards 6 service outcomes that customers told us they most valued and expected from their water and sewerage services. 

This was the first year of our 2023 to 2028 approved regulatory plan, covering our investments, services and prices. This sets out how we’ll deliver upon customers’ needs and expectations while keeping bills stable, create additional value and contribute to a brighter future for communities and the natural environment.

For the 2023-28 period we set 6 outcomes and 17 corresponding measures, which represent the breadth and depth of our commitments. This reflects the feedback from both our citizen juries and ongoing engagement with a diverse group of customers across our service area. 

For this price period, we’ve adopted an innovative approach to assess our performance across these measures. We have empowered our customers to hold us accountable by establishing a community panel to determine how well we’ve achieved the outcomes. As part of our commitment, we’ve promised to provide a community rebate of up to $1.8 million for each outcome we don’t achieve (up to $10.5 million per annum). This year we fully met 3 of the 6 outcomes while partially meeting the remainder and achieved 13 of 17 measures. Based on the panel’s assessment and recommendation, a $3.39 million rebate will be returned to customers through bills for those outcomes we haven’t fully met. A summary of how we went is provided below, including targets and results for each outcome.

In addition to our annual performance promise, we know that dealing with water and sewerage issues at home can be inconvenient and unpleasant, so we work towards guaranteed service levels every day. If we don’t meet them, impacted households will automatically receive a rebate on their next bill. Rebates are $50, $300, $1000 or $2000 depending on what has happened.

Our commitments are measured from April 2023 to March 2024.


Safe and pleasant drinking water

Measure: Compliance with Safe Drinking Water Regulations (2015)

Target: 100%

Result: 100% - achieved 

Customers told us that ‘compliance with safe drinking water regulations (2015)​’ is the most important measure for this outcome.

We must report to the Department of Health if any water does not meet the standards specified in the Safe Drinking Water Regulations (2015) or if it contains any substance that may pose a risk to human health. These regulations cover the way water quality tests are conducted and reported, and specify targets for the following 3 water quality parameters:

  • Escherichia coli bacteria (E.coli) – generally found in the intestines of humans, birds and animals. E.coli is an indicator for potential contamination in the water supply.
  • Trihalomethanes (THM) – a disinfection by-product that forms when natural organic matter in the water reacts with chlorine.
  • Turbidity – turbidity is a measure of water clarity. It describes the amount of light scattered or blocked by suspended particles in a water sample. Clear water has low turbidity and cloudy or murky water has a higher turbidity.

Unless we can demonstrate a test result is not representative of the water supply to customers, a result outside these parameters is considered a failure of the safe drinking water regulations. In addition to these 3 parameters, we must comply with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, which provide additional measures to assess drinking water quality.

We’ve achieved 100% compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Regulations (2015) over the last 5 years and are always working to improve the quality of water we supply. 

What we’ve done

We have a comprehensive risk-based water quality monitoring program that ensures the water we supply is high quality, safe and pleasant to drink. We use a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory to collect and analyse water samples from our water supply system. This laboratory collected and tested over 7,000 water samples this year, and we monitored and tested the water from over 1,200 randomly selected customer taps in 34 different water quality zones – achieving 100% compliance.

Our Drinking Water Risk Management Plan has been independently audited by Department of Health approved auditors, as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 and the Safe Drinking Water Regulations 2015. We successfully passed the risk management plan audit in April 2023 with zero non-conformances identified during the audit. Three opportunities for improvements related to consolidating our documentation and documenting our good practices were identified. These are currently being actioned.

As part of our routine sampling program, we received an initial E.coli detection on 7 June 2023 in East Warburton. We implemented all required actions outlined in our Water Quality Emergency Response Plan, thoroughly investigated the occurrence, and found that this detection met the criteria of a ‘false positive sample’. We have advised the Department of Health of our conclusion and as a result we have marked this measure as green for this year. 

We have:

  • Conducted routine inspections and maintenance of 13 water storage tanks and conducted major works on 5 tanks. 
  • Cleaned approximately 1,050 km of water mains, removing natural sediment that can cause complaints. 
  • Upgraded/commissioned 15 chlorinators across our drinking water network, with planning work underway to complete another 16 chlorinators next year.  
  • Continued our trial to assess the performance of 5 different types of online water quality monitoring equipment, with planning work underway to install 11 monitors next year.   

We regularly report on water quality and more information can be found here.

Measure: Customers who agree we provide great drinking water

Target: 91%

Result: 86% - not achieved

Customers want their water to be safe and ‘taste good’.  We measure taste by asking customers if they agree that we provide ‘great drinking water’. This helps us to monitor the quality of our water and understand customer perceptions around drinking water. There are roughly 2 million customers in our service area and each month we survey a range of customers from across our service area on their satisfaction with their drinking water. We survey a statistically valid sample of our customer base which provides confidence in views across the wider community. 

The taste of water can be influenced by many factors, including burst water pipes, water treatment and changes in the source of water supply. Taste is also subjective – what’s great to some may not be to others.

We don’t expect everyone will always be satisfied with their drinking water. For the past 5 years, on average, 91% of customers agreed that we provide great drinking water. The target for this measure has been set on this average. However, we’ve noticed a decline with 86% of customers currently agreeing that we provide great drinking water.

Generally, people who don’t agree that Yarra Valley Water provides great drinking water do so because they:

  • Don’t drink tap water.
  • Don’t like the taste, smell or colour.
  • Don’t like that water is treated or trust that it is safe.
  • Prefer to boil water due to health or cultural reasons.
  • Don’t believe that tap water could ever be great.

We measure and report all complaints regarding water quality. Most complaints are related to the colour of the water. This occurs where the water is discoloured following a burst water main – this can last up to 4 hours until we complete repairs. By comparison, we have very few complaints relating to the taste and smell of water. Taste and smell complaints are mainly due to the presence of chlorine, which is part of our water treatment process. 

What we’ve done

We’ve reviewed our operations to identify any reasons that may have caused the decline. There were no specific events or major changes outside usual operations to explain the change. 

We’ve undertaken in depth customer research to better understand why we’re seeing a decline. The research discovered a range of possible explanations including cultural influences, experiences with water faults, preferences for other drinks and general understanding of water quality and safety. A review of research across the water industry found similar trends. 

While we have measured a 5% decline in perceptions of great drinking water, customers’ overall satisfaction with water quality is remaining steady at 91%. This decline is also being experienced generally by other water utilities. We’re currently working on options to address this, which is likely to include expanding our education program with a focus on helping build community understanding on treatment processes and water quality. 

Reliable water and sewerage services

Measure: Customers who experience 3 or more unplanned interruptions

Target: < 7,000 customers

Result: 4,315 customers - achieved

This measure is largely focused on water failure events – where the normal supply of water to a customer or group of customers is disrupted. Water failure events can impact many customers compared to sewerage network disruptions. As a result, most of our improvement initiatives focus on interruptions to water supply.

However, while sewer repeat events are less common, the severity of impact to customers is often more significant. It’s therefore important that we keep a focus on reducing and eliminating high impact repeat sewer interruptions.

Performance for this measure is sensitive to weather conditions, with rainfall and soil conditions impacting water main failures. The target for this measure is based on our 5-year historical average. Each year we report to the Essential Services Commission on a range of key performance indicators including customer interruptions.

In 2022-23:

  • About 206,000 customers experienced planned and unplanned water supply interruptions across the year.
  • The average water outage duration for customers was approximately 2 hours.
  • For approximately 5,000 customers, it took longer than 5 hours to restore their water supply.

For customers who are individually affected where we don’t meet our service obligations, we provide customer rebates as part of our guaranteed service levels set out in our customer charter. You can find more information about these rebates on our website: https://www.yvw.com.au/about-us/customer-charter 

We identify customers who are impacted by repeat interruptions and undertake area-specific investigations to understand the cause of the interruption and rectify the issue. We also have proactive renewal programs designed to upgrade ageing pipes before they cause repeat interruptions. 

What we’ve done
  • Renewed 31.8 km of aging and poor performing water mains.
  • Renewed 45.5 km of aging and poor performing sewerage pipes.
  • Inspected 175 km of sewerage pipes to assess their condition and identify potential blockages.
  • Inspected 1,442 property connection sewer branches to check the integrity of the pipes.
  • Renewed more than 874 property connection sewer branches that impacted customers.
  • Installed over 131 water valves to reduce the potential number of customers having their water interrupted.
  • Rectified over 1035 valves and 262 hydrants to reduce the potential number of customers having their water interrupted.
  • Confirmed the location of over 1,308 valves and 31 hydrants that had been buried or moved, to reduce the potential number of customers having their water interrupted.
  • Identified areas with a single source of water supply that were suitable for introducing a backup source of supply to reduce customer impacts.
  • Implemented a failure prediction model into our water main renewals program, using machine learning techniques to increase the likelihood of identifying assets to replace before they fail.

Measure: Customers who experienced 5 or more unplanned interruptions in the last 3 years and any interruptions this year

Target: < 3,572 customers

Result: 2,526 customers - achieved

This measure is aimed at effectively resolving systemic issues to ensure customers don’t continue to experience interruptions.

Consistent with the previous measure, this measure is also largely focused on water failure events which affect more customers compared to sewer failure events. This measure, however, focuses on customers who experience numerous interruptions to their water and sewerage services over a 3-year period. This highlights that there may be an underlying issue causing repeat interruptions. 

Performance for this measure is similarly sensitive to weather conditions as rainfall and soil conditions broadly impact water main failures, and we experienced an El Niño event over summer 2023-24, which typically brings drier and warmer weather.

The target for this measure has been set to reflect the 4-year historical average to remove unreliable data during 2015-2017, associated with the transition of maintenance service providers.

What we’ve done

The actions listed above for the measure ‘customers who experience 3 or more unplanned interruptions’ are also relevant to this measure. 

In addition, we’ve created fit for purpose reporting to identify the underlying issue, so we can better tailor work programs to address the specific problem for customers. 

Timely response and repair

Measure: Customers’ satisfaction with the restoration of their services (planned and unplanned interruptions)

Target: 91% of customers

Result: 95% of customers – achieved

Customers told us that ‘customer’ satisfaction with the restoration of their services (planned and unplanned interruptions)​’ is the most important measure for this outcome.

For customers who have experienced water issues in the past 12 months, the most important factor contributing to customer satisfaction was ‘reacts quickly to water and sewerage issues’.

Each month we survey a sample of customers who’ve recently been affected by water or sewer works.

From the survey responses, we quantify the overall level of satisfaction with fault calls, emergency field works, water and sewer maintenance and scheduled maintenance. We also use the results to identify opportunities to improve customer experience. This includes how we resolve issues, the process to restore water and sewerage services, and how we communicate with and support customers. 

The target reflects our 5-year average historical performance. 

What we’ve done
  • Activated our summer escalation plan for unplanned works which ensures we have optimal resourcing in place during this busy period and customers know what to expect regarding repair times. 
  • Continued to work closely with our maintenance contractors and other delivery partners, to review field processes and practices including communications to our customers. 

Measure: Customers whose water or sewerage service wasn’t restored within 4 hours

Target: 4.85% of customers

Result: 4.05% of customers - achieved

For customers who had experienced an interruption to their service in the past 12 months, the most important factor was to ‘react quickly to water and sewerage issues’.

Our goal is to turn customers’ water and sewerage services back on as quickly as possible, and we aim to do this within 4 hours. We have well established processes with our maintenance partners to support this. 

The target reflects our 5-year average historical performance. 

What we’ve done
  • Activated our summer escalation plan for unplanned works which ensures we have optimal resourcing in place during this busy period and customers know what to expect regarding repair times. 
  • Continued to work closely with our maintenance contractors and other delivery partners, to review field processes and practices and find innovative ways to restore water or sewerage services sooner.
  • Implemented a suite of daily performance monitoring reports and automated alerts to identify performance trends. 

Measure: Customers whose water or sewerage service wasn’t restored within 12 hours

Target: 0.35% of customers

Result: 0.23% of customers - achieved

This measure focuses on customers who’ve had extended service outages.

The target reflects our 5-year average historical performance. 

What we’ve done

The actions we’ve listed above for the measure ‘customer satisfaction of the restoration of their services (planned and unplanned interruptions)’ are also relevant to this measure.

  • Activated our summer escalation plan for unplanned works which ensures we have optimal resourcing in place during this busy period and regularly prioritise response crews to minimise the length of a service outage.
  • Continued to work closely with our maintenance contractors and other delivery partners, to review field processes and practices and find innovative ways to restore water or sewerage services sooner.
  • Implemented a suite of daily performance monitoring reports and automated alerts to identify performance trends. 
Service that meets everyone’s needs

Measure: Customers' satisfaction with their most recent interaction with us

Target: 86% of customers

Result: 87% of customers – achieved

Customers told us that ‘customers’ satisfaction with their most recent interaction with us’ is the most important measure for this outcome.

We monitor customer satisfaction across a range of services we provide.  Monitoring is done via a monthly survey of customers who have had a service interaction with us. Customers not only provide an overall rating of satisfaction but also more detailed feedback regarding aspects that matter (e.g. professionalism of crews and friendliness of call centre staff).

In addition, we monitor other key drivers of their interaction experience including:

  • Effort – did we make more effort than the customer?
  • Resolution – was the customer query or issue resolved?
  • Empathy– did staff show care towards customers?

The target for this measure has been set based on our 5-year historical average. 

What we’ve done
  • Adopted a customer-centred approach to our technological platforms, with improvements to our online Land Development Portal and MyAccount Portal underway. 
  • Investigated areas of relatively low satisfaction with interactions across Field Services
  • Worked with our field partners to improve communications (so customers know when to expect works) and restoration of the work site once works have been completed. 
  • Continued to improve interactions with Customer Care, with a focus on reducing wait times and improving enquiry resolution for commercial customers. 

Measure: Customers, who accessed our support services, believe Yarra Valley Water helped them with their bills

Target: 92% of customers

Result: 94% of customers - achieved

Our WaterCare support team offers tailored financial support services to customers experiencing hardship. We aim to make sure that everyone accessing WaterCare is satisfied with the support, and most importantly, that we have helped them pay their bill. The target for this measure is based on our 5-year historical average. 

What we’ve done
  • Provided hardship and vulnerability programs for customers who are unable to pay.
  • Improved awareness of, and access to, services and programs for customers who experience barriers to our services.
  • Partnered with others to ensure customers can access support services more broadly. 
  • Protected customers who may not have a capacity to pay and not restrict water supply without first understanding their ability to pay.
  • Delivered community outreach events, which involve marketing campaigns for our Watercare support program, with a focus on customers eligible for concession discounts. We also connected with customers through community events and at pop-up stalls. We’ve strengthened our partnership with community organisations that focus on supporting vulnerable customers. 
  • Provided customers with a variety of payment options that suit their circumstances. 
Saving water for the future

Measure: Water lost from Yarra Valley Water's supply system

Target: 7.8%

Result: 10% - not achieved

Water lost from our water supply system (such as through leaks and bursts) is measured as the difference between the water we purchase from Melbourne Water, and the water we bill our customers for, or transfer to other water authorities. Water lost from leaks and bursts typically flows into nearby drains, waterways or the groundwater table. It is not feasible to collect and reuse this water – our focus is on minimising any losses through fast identification and rectification of the issue. From January to March 2024 we experienced double the typical volume of burst water mains, and double the volume of leaking water mains.

The target for this measure is set based on our result from the 2021-22 financial year, the last financial year before we submitted our price submission. The average over the last 5 years was 8.7%, with a range between 7.5% and 10.8%. The period for which the average was calculated included the Covid 19 pandemic, which correlated with changed water use patterns.

There will always be some water lost in our water network, which is common for large scale water supply networks throughout the world. The reasons for the difference between the amount we purchase and the amount we sell are:

  • 60% of our losses are through hidden bursts and leaks, e.g. from an underground pipe with a crack in it and the water does not rise to the surface.
  • 20% of our losses are through visible bursts and leaks.
  • 18% of our losses are from aging customer meters which record a slightly lower usage than the actual volume used by the customer. 
  • 2% is due to other water use such as cleaning mains, unblocking sewers and for firefighting.

In addition to zone monitoring, we physically inspect the water supply network with our Active Leak Detection Program to tackle background leakage. We aim to proactively identify and repair bursts and leaks before they become more significant. 

What we’ve done
  • Continued to implement our District Metered Area (DMA) program, currently covering 42.3% of our network by pipe length. Our District Metering Areas program assists in targeting water leakage by enabling individual zone monitoring of increasing leakage. Through this program the water supply system is segmented into small zones which we remotely monitor daily. Our reporting identifies areas where we may have leaks or bursts which have not been reported, enabling us to deploy leak detection crews to identify the source of the problem. Once identified by these crews, the leaks or bursts are prioritised for repair. 
  • Developed monitoring of 36 new DMAs in our monitoring systems.
  • Continued to work with our maintenance partners to address the increase in rectification times of low priority leaks, and the impact of the summer escalation period. 
  • Developed reporting to track our Active Leak Detection Program progress to enable efficient prioritisation of the program.
  • Introduced new technology to our field team that enables faster detection of leaks. 

Measure: Recycled water used in areas where it’s available

Target: 3.7%

Result: 1.1% - not achieved

Customer consultation and research has confirmed that our customers continue to support the supply of alternative, fit for purpose water. We do not supply recycled water for drinking purposes, however, we have mandated Class A recycled water for approximately 100,000 new homes in our service area. Consistent with government policy, we service the following mandated areas for recycled water: 

  • Aurora Estate
  • Epping Northeast (north of Harvest Home Road)
  • Wollert
  • Craigieburn West
  • Croydon/Lilydale (Quarry development)
  • Beveridge/Wallan
  • Kalkallo
  • Greenvale
  • Doncaster Hill. 

Developers in these areas are required to provide third pipe Class A recycled water to all residential properties. As new customers are connected to the recycled water network, we provide information on how best to use their recycled water. 

We currently supply homes in mandated areas via three Class A recycled water treatment plants: Brushy Creek, Aurora and Wallan. Each plant services different areas of our network. If we don’t produce enough recycled water to supply the demand of the Class A networks, drinking water is used to ensure continuity of services.

Plans to meet the target focused on 4 key areas to support the availability and uptake of recycled water: 

  • delivery of new capital works
  • optimising and improving reliability of existing recycled water assets
  • diversification of recycled water 
  • enhancing customer awareness.

The target for this measure reflects timing and scope of recycled water infrastructure investments that will enable production and delivery of increased volumes of recycled water to customers. The target was based on past performance of the plants, and was not met this year due to unplanned additional maintenance conducted at our treatment plants to improve operational performance and safety. 

What we’ve done

We haven’t met our target this year. Contributing factors are:

  • The Aurora Recycled Water Treatment Plant, which supplies most of our recycled water, has been offline for safety and maintenance upgrades since January 2023. It is expected to return to service in November 2024. 
  • The Brushy Creek Recycled Water Treatment Plant was offline in May 2023 for upgrades in the chemical dosing facility and for a refurbishment of the storage tank. It is expected to return to service in November 2024.  
  • The Doncaster Hill Recycled Water Project is in the planning phase and is expected to be commissioned and supplying water by mid-2027. 

Measure: Average household water use (litres, per property, per day (l/pp/pd)

Target: 399L

Result: 377L - achieved

Customers told us that ‘average household water use (litres per property per day)​’ is the most important measure for this outcome.

Weather, climate and population growth can impact water usage. El Niño typically brings a warmer and drier climate, although this has not eventuated. Population growth has been high due to increased migration and forecast population growth is expected to remain high in the short term. 

The target for this measure was set based on our water demand and residential growth forecasts. 

What we’ve done
  • From 1 July 2023 we combined water usage and sewage disposal charges. This change was based on customer feedback that the sewage disposal charge was complex and difficult to understand. By connecting these two charges we’ve made usage charges easier to understand and created a stronger financial incentive to save water.
  • Implemented a water audit and showerhead pilot program, aiming to reach 1,000 properties by the end of the financial year. On average we estimate this program will save each household 20,000 litres per year. 
  • Since April 2023, an additional 17 schools in our service area have joined the Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP). Currently, 368 schools in our service area have been involved in SWEP since its inception in 2012, saving over 2.2 billion litres of water and avoiding an estimated cost of $9.3 million.
  • Our Water Watchers education program has delivered 687 incursions across schools in our service area since 1 April 2023.
  • We’ve continued to support long-term water resource planning for Melbourne together with Melbourne Water and other retailers.

Measure: Business customers who use more than 100 megalitres (100 million litres) of water a year, who have an active water efficiency plan

Target: 100%

Result: 100% - achieved

Under the Water Act (1989), we report annually on business customers using more than 100 megalitres a year, and whether they participate in a water conservation program. 

We continuously review our large customers’ 12-month rolling average to ensure that any new customers who use over 100 megalitres are identified and have an active water efficiency plan. ​

We also target and monitor customers who use between 90-100 megalitres and ensure they also have active water efficiency plans. The target for this measure has been set based on our 5-year historical average. 

What we’ve done
  • Updated water efficiency templates and questionnaire
  • Business Partnership Managers engaged in discussions on customers’ Water Efficiency Management Plans (WEMP)
  • Reviewed and actioned (if required) ongoing monthly reporting on water usage.
Looking after our natural environment

Measure: Hectares of land we actively manage to preserve and restore biodiversity and natural habitats

Target: 9Ha

Result: 10.6Ha - achieved

This measure will help us meet increased legislative responsibilities and increased customer expectations around environmental protection and protection of endangered species and wildlife. 

A program of works for 47 hectares of land has been proposed during the 2023-28 price submission period. The land will be managed to achieve protection and enhancement of biodiversity outcomes across 14 key sites. These sites are either considered remnant sites (sites with high remnant biodiversity values) or restoration sites (sites of high strategic restoration value including our sewage treatment plant sites).

The target for this measure is based on the capital and operating investments planned to preserve and restore biodiversity and natural habitats over the period.

What we’ve done

At remnant sites (sites with high remnant biodiversity values) we've:

  • progressed site investigation and planning work
  • progressed stakeholder consultation site by site
  • commenced program development
  • progressively implemented biodiversity management plans for each site.

At the key restoration sites (sites of high strategic restoration value) we’ve:

  • Started construction of the Wollert Community Farm, which is due to start operations in spring 2024. Interim activities include creek restoration work, planting of 4000 trees and commencement of junior indigenous ranger programs. 
  • Completed detailed design of wetlands for the Upper Yarra Habitat Restoration, with plans to commence earthworks for wetland construction next summer.

The Wollert Community Farm includes first Nation-led land management of endangered grasslands onsite as part of our caring for Country approach, through partnering with Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung’s Narrap Unit. Wurundjeri’s Narrap Unit undertook a cultural burn at the site in 2023. 

We’ve developed a biodiversity framework and business case to improve land management practices on 1,527 hectares of land we own across Melbourne. Some of this land retains significant biodiversity value and provides habitat for wildlife, including endangered species.

We’ve commenced a program to improve weed management, undertake revegetation and restoration of waterways and introduce species monitoring.

Measure: Volume of sewage spills that have a material impact to the environment

Target: < 5,000 kL

Result: 8,818 kL – not achieved

We have not met the target this year due to large storms in January 2024, which resulted in significant spills. 

This measure reflects the volume of raw (undiluted) sewer spills reported to the EPA, that come from our sewer network assets. This measure is highly sensitive to weather events and unanticipated asset failures.

The three key drivers resulting in spills are: 

  • capacity issues in pipelines (63% of total sewage spills) 
  • capacity issues at sewer pump stations (29% of total sewage spills)
  • asset failures due to blockages or loss of power (8% of total sewage spills). 

The target for this measure has been set using an adjusted 3-year historical average. Sewer spills attributed to significant weather events from 2019-20 and 2020-21 or deemed to be a significant avoidable incident have been eliminated, reducing the target from 23,000KL to <5,000KL. 

We are experiencing rainfall and storm events with more variability and complexity. As our climate changes, it’s likely that intense short duration rainfall events and other extreme weather events will increase.

There are assumptions that we must make when designing new assets. This includes government policy on town planning, population growth projections and climate change. 

For our highest risk sewer pipelines, we initiate upgrade projects to install replacement pipelines with greater capacity. These projects can take 5-8 years or more to deliver once a capacity constraint is identified, and there are no options for a reduction of spill volumes until they are replaced. These high-risk pipelines are identified ahead of time, and we aim to prioritise them for replacement before any major spills occur. 

What we’ve done
  • Started planning and design system upgrade works on our highest risk pipeline, Darebin Creek North Main. The Darebin Intercepting Sewer (DIS) is expected to take 7-8 years to deliver.  
  • Started options assessment of our second highest risk pipeline, North Yarra Main. The sewer upgrade capital work is expected to be delivered by the end of 2027-28. 
  • Completed detailed design of our third highest risk pipeline, the Eley Road sewer branch.  Currently the project is at tendering stage and construction of stage 1 of the new Eley Road relieving sewer is planned to commence in the first quarter of 2024-25
  • To mitigate the risk of high-risk uncontrolled spills of the Rosanna sewer branch, two new emergency relieving structures will be completed by 2026-27. 
  • To identify the potential sources of excessive inflow and infiltration to our sewer system, we’ve planned 2 smoke testing programs for Brushy Creek and Broadmeadows sub-catchments, to be completed by the end of September 2024. 
  • Worked with our maintenance partners to monitor and ensure ongoing timely reactive maintenance. 
  • Developed a process for Post Spill Cause Review Investigations to be used following unpredicted wet weather spills. Currently, 3 identified sites are under root cause of spill investigation.   
  • Cleaned 23.7 km of pipes. 
  • Cleaned 246 gas check maintenance holes.  
  • Renewed 45.9 km of aging and poor performing sewerage pipes.  
  • Inspected 178 km of sewerage pipes to assess their condition and identify potential blockages.  
  • Inspected 1,411 property connection sewer branches to check the integrity of the pipes.  
  • Renewed 1,185 property connection sewer branches that impacted customers.  

Measure: Number of customers who were on septic tanks and are now connected to the sewerage network

Target: >207 customers

Result: 407 customers - achieved

Many homes in Melbourne were built before sewerage infrastructure was available, particularly on the urban fringe. As a result, many homes in outer northern and eastern suburbs use septic tanks to manage their wastewater. Poorly performing septic tank systems can damage local waterways and cause odour and soggy backyards. This can often affect neighbouring properties and potentially pose a risk to public health.

We have an ongoing capital expenditure program that provides sewerage services in areas where customers are reliant on septic systems for their waste disposal.

The two main drivers of this measure are:

  • Expanding the sewer network to enable more customers to connect.
  • Connecting properties to the sewerage network and decommissioning septic tanks. Customers can choose to connect in their own time and there is typically a 6-month lag between sewer becoming available and sewer being connected.

The target for this measure reflects the timing of proposed investments over the 2023-28 period and the historical connection rate. 

What we’ve done

Our Community Sewerage Program continues to expand as we create new available connections for over 3,000 properties during 2023-28. In 2022-23, new sewerage services were made available to more than 500 properties in areas including Monbulk, Kallista, and Eltham. We also progressed construction works in Sassafras, Kallista, and Lower Plenty, with almost 700 additional properties expected to connect in 2024 as the works are finalised. 

Our pop-up shop in Monbulk’s main street promotes the opportunity for Dandenong Ranges residents to connect to the sewerage network, allowing local residents to drop in to learn more about the program. They can view a full-size replica of the equipment that will go on their property and speak directly with specialist staff to get the answers they need about how to connect.

We’re also working with local councils, the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action and the Environment Protection Authority to educate communities about the benefits of the new sewerage systems to drive more connections. This includes written campaigns and visits to local community hubs. Connection benefits are expected to be seen across 2024. 

Measure: Percentage of energy requirements met from renewables

Target: 85%

Result: 85% - achieved

We know our operations impact the environment through carbon emissions. Our renewable energy targets are consistent with our obligation under the Statement of Obligations (Emissions Reduction) and our proposed investment program.

  • We consume electricity from two sources, behind the meter renewables and the electricity grid. ​
  • We surrender Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) to guarantee that electricity consumed from the grid is renewable. ​
  • LGCs are acquired through internal production and export of renewable electricity from our generators, or by purchasing from external renewable generators in Victoria.
  • Yarra Valley Water purchases accredited GreenPower​ from our electricity retailer to cover any shortfalls.
What we’ve done

Started construction of a second, larger food waste to energy facility to process food waste and create electricity. This will transform up to 150 tonnes of waste per day into 33,000 kWh of renewable energy – around 35% of our energy requirements.

Continued our path of switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy. These initiatives include: 

  • Purchasing more electric vehicles and plug in hybrid electric vehicles as we accelerate our transition towards a zero-emission fleet by 2030.
  • Upgrading our hot water systems from gas boilers to energy efficient heat pumps.
  • Planning an upgrade to our office heating system over summer 2024-25.
  • Installing electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support our zero emissions vehicles, with more to come.
  • Commissioning a Demand Management System at our Mitcham head office to optimise the efficient use of electricity.
  • Sourcing 20% of our renewable energy requirements from a large-scale solar farm in north-west Victoria that’s facilitated by Zero Emissions Water Ltd.
  • Moving to the functional design stage to install 3 large market ground-mounted solar systems at large energy consuming water network sites.

View our performance from PS18