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Residential customers in the Hunter will suffer a massive 57% increase in water bills while the biggest industrial users will be heavily discounted, warned Total Environment Centre (TEC) today.

 “Hunter Water’s current ‘location based’ prices provide unfair discounts for large industrial water users. It’s become a major barrier to the development of water recycling in the region,” said TEC’s Water Campaigner, Mr Leigh Martin.

In a submission to the current Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s review of prices, Hunter Water recently admitted that these discounts have been designed to protect Hunter Water from competition from recycled water.

“There is little incentive for industry to switch to recycled water while precious potable water is available at throw away prices,” said Mr Martin.

Instead of encouraging sustainable water management in the region, Hunter Water the Corporation has proposed an expensive and environmentally damaging supply augmentation in the form of Tillegra Dam,  “which is utterly scandalous,” said Mr Martin.

“A water recycling system is a much less expensive drought security alternative than a $400 billion dam on the Williams River.

“The NSW Government claims to be committed to developing water recycling and promoting competition on the water industry. We expect the government to prove that commitment,” Mr Martin said.

TEC has called on NSW Water Minister Phil Costa MP to direct the Tribunal to abolish industry discounts in order to allow the recycled water industry to provide a sustainable alternative to Tillegra Dam.

“The NSW Government must act now to end Hunter Water’s obstruction of water recycling by ending price discounts for large industrial water,” said Mr Martin.