FAQ Knowledge Base

Visit our FAQ knowledge base to find answers to all of your common questions.

We want to make sure all of our customers can find an answer to their question. Use the following FAQ guide for a list of common question, however if you need more information do not hesitate to contact us.

Billing FAQs

Billing delivery methods

How can I receive my bills via email?

To receive your bills via email, residential customers can register for eBilling. If you are a business customer, call 131 691 to see if you’re eligible.

How can I go back to receiving paper bills via post instead of emails?

Residential customers can switch to paper bills at any stage. Please note that switching to paper bills only cancels your eBilling registration, if you want to cancel your BPAY View, you will need to contact your bank.

Why can’t I receive my bills via both post and email at the same time?

To prevent any confusion or mix-up, we will only send bills via one delivery channel.

How do I update my postal address?

If you are an eBilling customer (receiving your bills via email), to change your postal address for future postal mail to reach you please call 131 691.

If you receive paper bills via post, you can update your postal address in MyAccount.

 Learn about MyAccount Already registered? Login to MyAccount instead. 

How can I get copies of my previous bills?

When you register for eBilling, your quarterly bills arrive in your nominated personal email inbox, so they will always be in the one place where you can find them.

Or alternatively, eligible residential customers can download previous bills and view upcoming payments in MyAccount.

 Learn about MyAccount Already registered? Login to MyAccount instead. 

Or, to request a new copy of your bill call us on 131 691.

I am vision impaired. In what formats can I receive my bill?

We offer our vision impaired customers the option of receiving their bills in a format to suit their needs, including in braille and large print. Visit out Accounts for Vision Impaired page for more details.

eBilling

How often will I receive an eBill?

Our bills are sent out on a quarterly basis. The billing cycle we follow is identical whether you receive bills by post or by email.

What are some of the benefits of eBilling?
  • Lessen your environmental impact with digital bills instead of paper.
  • Reduce clutter in your home or office.
  • eBilling also makes tax time easier, because all your bills can be found in one location.
  • eBilling offers you the convenience of being able to view and download your bills anywhere, and at any time, as long as you have email access.
Can I switch back to paper bills at any time?

Yes, residential customers can switch back to paper bills anytime. Business customers can call us on 131 691.

What if I currently receive my bill through BPAYView?

If you are currently a BPAYView customer please contact your bank to deregister from BPAYView. We can change your bill delivery method to eBills - however you will be required to inform your bank of the change in delivery method.

What happens if I change my email address?

Once you’ve registered for eBilling, any change to your nominated email address will need to be updated on our billing system. If you are a residential customer you can update your email address. Business customers can call us on 131 691.

What happens if I don't receive my eBill?

It’s worth checking your junk or spam folders to see if your bill has been filed incorrectly.

In some cases the email may bounce back. This will happen when your email address is invalid or your email is full. If this happens your email address will show on our email delivery report and will be flagged as undeliverable. A paper version of your bill will be sent to you by mail.

Your paper bill will be accompanied with a letter that explains your email delivery issue and will ask if you want to update your email address.

Can I get both eBill and paper bills?

We can provide either an eBill or a paper bill, not both.

What is the difference between eBilling and MyAccount?

eBilling is an email billing service. Residential customers can choose to conveniently receive their City West Water bills to a nominated email address, instead of receiving a paper bill by post.

MyAccount is your water account, online. It is a portal residential customers can log into for greater access and control of their account. To be able to register for MyAccount, residential customers require an email address that is linked to their account. The easiest way to link an email to your account is to register for eBilling.

If you already have an email address linked to your account, you can register for MyAccount.

What is the eligibility criteria to register for eBilling?
  • Currently only residential existing or new customers can be registered for eBilling.
  • eBilling cannot be set up on accounts beginning with ‘999’.
  • Where eBilling is requested for an account that has BPAY View (BPV) set up, BPV must be cancelled – you can do this by contacting your bank.
  • Business customers please call 131 691 (8.30am - 5.00pm Mon-Fri) to confirm eligibility.
What is the difference between registering for eBilling and MyAccount?

eBilling is an email billing service. Residential customers can choose to conveniently receive their City West Water bills to a nominated email address, instead of receiving a paper bill by post.

MyAccount is your water account, online. It is a portal residential customers can log into for greater access and control of their account. To be able to register for MyAccount, residential customers require an email address that is linked to their account. The easiest way to link an email to your account is to register for eBilling.

If you already have an email address linked to your account, you can register for MyAccount.

Bill charges

Why is my bill higher than normal?

There are many reasons why your bill may seem higher than normal, some common causes are:

  •  Your bill may include the annual Parks Charge, usually billed in the July to September period.  
  • You may have used more water.  
  • There may be a leak on your property.

An easy place to start is to check your meter reading to confirm that you have been charged for the right amount of water. To learn how to read your meter visit the My Water Meter page.

Please note: your meter reading should be higher than the one shown on the back of your bill.

If you have confirmed that the meter reading is correct and believe that the amount of water is too much for your circumstance, visit the Water Saving Tips page and complete a two-minute leak test.

What charges appear on my bill?

Your bill may include fixed charges for water and sewerage, as well as variable charges for water and sewerage based on the amount of water used.

Need a breakdown of your bill? Visit our How to Read Your Bill page.

Why do I pay a water network charge?

The water network charge (formerly 'water service charge') contributes to maintenance of the water supply network. This includes City West Water's water mains, pumping stations and meters, as well as Melbourne Water's water mains, treatment plants, dams and the Wonthaggi Desalination Plant. This ensures we are able to provide high quality and reliable supply of water to our customers.

Why do I pay a sewerage network charge?

The sewerage network charge (formerly 'sewerage service charge') contributes to the maintenance of the sewerage network. This includes City West Water's sewer mains, pumping stations and emergency relief structures, as well as Melbourne Water's trunk sewer mains and the operating of the Western Treatment Plant. Your contribution ensures we can reliably transport sewage from our customers to a treatment plant for treatment and disposal.

How do you calculate the sewage disposal charge?

The sewage disposal charge is for the water you discharge to the sewer, including water that goes down any inside drains, sinks, toilets and any other drains that connect to the sewer.

We estimate the volume of waste water you discharge to the sewer based on the amount of water recorded through your meter.

For residential customers your sewage disposal estimate depends on your type of residence (house or unit) and what season we are in. Given these variables the percentage of water used that is estimated to have entered the sewer can vary from 62 to 90 percent during the year.

For non-residential customers the sewage disposal estimate is set at 90% and this does not fluctuate with the season.

For more details refer to our Pricing handbook which describes the estimation methodology and how they are applied.

How do you calculate the water usage step charges?

The amount of water you are charged for using is calculated from water meter readings approximately once every 90 days. The amount of water recorded is divided by the number of days in the reading period to work out, on average, how much water is used every day.

The first 440 litres per day are charged at the lowest step, water used between 440 and 880 litres per day is charged at the middle step and any water used over 880 litres per day is charged at the highest step.

For example, if you used 91 kL of water in the June quarter (91 days), this equates to an average daily use of 1000 L/day. In addition to the standard quarterly service fee, the water usage fee applied for the June quarter would reflect (an average of) 440 L / day charged at the lowest step, 440 L / day charged at the middle step and the remaining 120 L / day charged at the highest step.

What is the Melbourne Water Waterways and Drainage Charge?

We collect the Waterways and Drainage Charge on behalf of Melbourne Water. This charge contributes to the management of waterways, drainage assets and floodplains in our region.

Visit Charges explained page for Melbourne Water waterways and drainage charge.

What is the Parks Victoria Parks Charge?

We collect the annual Parks Charge on behalf of Parks Victoria. This charge helps fund the purchase, development and maintenance of Melbourne's major parks, gardens and waterways.

Visit Charges explained page for Parks Victoria charge.

When do prices change?

Prices for water and sewerage services and consumption change on 1 July each year. Our prices are regulated by the Essential Services Commission (ESC). The ESC's 2013-2018 Price Determination for City West Water sets out the process we use to update our prices annually.

Visit the ESC website for more information.

How do I read my meter?

You can watch the video on reading your meter or follow the instructions outlined below.

There should be a row of up to eight or nine figures on a white background behind glass on your meter. Some numbers will be in black, some in red. The red numbers show your water consumption in litres, while the black numbers record the kilolitres.

The black numbers (kilolitres) are the ones that will be shown on the back of your bill. Compare the black numbers on your meter to the reading on the back of your bill.

The reading shown on the meter should be higher than the latest reading shown on your bill. If the reading is lower, you may have been charged incorrectly. Please call us on 131 691 to assist.

Paying bills

How can I pay my bill?

You can easily and securely pay online using your credit card, visit our Pay online page.

We offer various payment options, visit our payment options page.

For those customers experiencing genuine financial difficulties we offer a range of payment support options, visit our help with your bill page.

How can I apply for a concession rebate?

If you hold an eligible concession card you can apply for a rebate on your water bill. For more information, visit our concessions page.

How can I apply for a payment extension?

If you need more time to pay, you can request a payment extension by completing our payment extension form.

How can I apply for a payment plan?

EasyWay payment plans help you make weekly, fortnightly or monthly payment instalments throughout the year, to reduce the impact of receiving a larger bill every quarter. For more information visit our payment plans page.

How can I set up/change my Direct Debit with my credit card?

To set up a Direct Debit from a credit card or if you have an existing Direct Debit set up using your credit card and you want to make changes to your arrangement, for example:

  • update credit card details (eg, the expiry date of an existing credit card currently set up on Direct Debit)
  • change your Direct Debit arrangement from credit card to debit from a bank account,

Call us on 131 691 between (8.30am – 5.00pm Mon-Fri), to ensure your privacy.

Please note it takes 4 business days to cancel or change a Direct Debit arrangement, this will ensure your arrangement is updated before the next scheduled deduction.

You can still make manual credit card payments in the following ways:

  • via our secure payments page
  • through an Easyway Plan (however, you will need to call 131 691 first to confirm instalment amounts and frequency).
What happens if my Direct Debit payment is unsuccessful?

When a Direct Debit payment is unsuccessful, for example, funds were unable to be debited from your credit card or bank account, your arrangement is cancelled automatically. If your arrangement is cancelled due to any of the reasons outlined below, please contact us on 131 691 to reinstate it.

Here are the cancellation circumstances for Direct Debit arrangements:

Direct Debit with a credit card
Your arrangement will be cancelled immediately when payments debited from a credit card are unsuccessful, for example, due to an issue with the card.

Bank account Direct Debit
Your arrangement will be cancelled in the following ways when payments debited from a bank account are unsuccessful, for example, due to insufficient funds:

  • Full payment arrangements (debiting the full due amount) will be cancelled immediately with a $0.50 dishonour fee.
  • Instalment payment arrangements (debiting in instalment amounts) will attempt to debit 3 times. If on the 3rd attempt the payment is still unsuccessful the arrangement will be cancelled with a $0.50 dishonour fee.

Please note: some arrangements are cancelled immediately, for example, invalid bank accounts or deceased accounts, regardless of either full or instalment arrangement.

Check your Water FAQs

Why does my water look brown?

What does brown water look like?

Your tap water colour may range between light yellow to a brown or muddy colour. If you use your washing machine, you may experience brown stains on clothes after a washing load.

What is it and how did it happen?

Brown water can result from a build-up of natural sediments in the water pipes. Significant water flow changes in City West Water’s mains (for example, after a burst water main) can disturb the sediments, discolouring the water.

If you are in an older property, brown water can be caused by the corrosion of your galvanised iron water pipes. Rust particles in the water make it brown.

Can I still drink my water?

We recommend waiting until the water is cleared before drinking it.

How do I address the issue?

Run your tap for about one minute. This should flush out any sediments. If the water clears temporarily but then becomes brown again later, then it is likely to be your internal corroding galvanised-iron pipes. You may want to contact your local plumber to fix this problem.

If the water does not clear, contact City West Water on 132 642 for assistance.

Why does my water look milky white?

How do I know if I have a white water quality issue?

Your tap water colour may range from a milky to a cloudy appearance.

What is it and how did it happen?

White water consists of very small air bubbles that can be caused by trapped air in City West Water’s distribution mains following maintenance works OR it could be a build-up of air in your hot water system.

Can I still drink my water?

While aerated water is safe to drink, you may wish to wait until the water is cleared before drinking it.

How do I address the issue?

Stand a glass of the cloudy water on a bench and observe the water for a minute or two. If the water starts clearing from the bottom upwards then this shows the cause of the cloudiness to be aerated water, which is perfectly safe. There is no need to take further action. The cloudiness of the tap water will soon go away.

If the water does not clear, or the water does not clear from the bottom upwards, contact City West Water on 132 642 for assistance.

Why does my water have a chlorine/bleach-like taste?

How do I know if I have a water quality issue?

Your drinking water will have an odour or taste like chlorine or bleach, similar to that of a swimming pool.

What is it and how did it happen?

Chlorine is added to Melbourne’s drinking water supply for purposes of disinfection. There can be a variation in the level of chlorine in tap water. This could be due to seasonal or daily changes in water demands or flow rates. Chlorine levels can also vary between different suburbs, depending on their proximity to where dosing takes place.

Can I still drink my water?

Chlorine levels and dosing are continuously monitored and strictly controlled. A small level of chlorine in your drinking water is not harmful. Even if your drinking water does have a chlorine smell, the water is still safe to drink.

How do I address the issue?

Contact City West Water on 132 642 to obtain assurance and further clarification on chlorine levels in your area.

Why does my water smell strange (but not like chlorine)?

How do I know if I have a water quality issue?

You will notice a change in the taste or odour of the water.

What is it and how did it happen?

A noticeable change in the taste or odour of tap water can have various causes. These can include the installation of new pipes, or water that has developed a stale taste after sitting within the pipes for long periods.

Can I still drink my water?

We recommend you wait until the water issue is resolved before you drink the water.

How do I address the issue?

Flush and run your tap for about one minute. If the water taste or odour does not improve, contact City West Water on 132 642 for assistance.

Why does my water look blue-green?

How do I know if I have a blue-green water quality issue?

Your drinking water will have a blue-green tinge, with possibly blue-green particles in the water and a bitter or metallic taste to it.

What is it and how did it happen?

Blue-green water happens because of elevated levels of copper in the water. This copper comes from the internal corrosion of copper water pipes and fittings.

Can I still drink my water?

Blue green water should not be consumed. Drinking blue-green water can result in vomiting and adverse health effects.

The water in my bath looks blue – is this blue-green water?

Not necessarily. This can often be an optical effect rather than the presence of copper in the water. City West Water can clarify these cases.

How do I address the issue?

You may require a plumber to fix this problem. Contact City West Water on 132 642 for information, advice and assistance.

Why is my water filter blocked?

How do I know if I have a blocked water filter issue?

Your water filter has become blocked and is now restricting water flow.

What is it and how did it happen?

Melbourne’s water supply is largely unfiltered. As a result, the water naturally contains small quantities of generally invisible, fine, suspended particles.

The particles are harmless but nevertheless, over time, will accumulate on water filters and can be incorrectly perceived as poor quality drinking water.

The rate of particle accumulation on water filters varies, and can depend (for example) on filter pore size or particle content of the local supply, as well seasonal variations in microscopic, harmless algal populations that are naturally present in Melbourne’s reservoirs.

All water filters that trap and accumulate particles will eventually restrict water flows and become blocked.

How do I address the issue?

A number of residential customers choose to use water filters. However, given the compliance of City West Water’s water supply with Victoria’s drinking water standards and Australian drinking water quality guidelines, we do not believe there is a need to use domestic water filters.

In many cases, individual filter units have little effect on improving household water supply quality.
For instance, filters may be claimed to remove substances that in fact are not even present to any significant degree in our water supply. In some cases filter units can actually cause a deterioration of water quality.

Customers considering the purchase of a water filter should carefully evaluate their own needs as well as apparent benefits and relevance of individual units. City West Water neither undertakes nor approves of attempts to sell water filters on a “door to door” basis.

It should be noted, however, that there are situations (e.g. industrial applications, medical treatment) where the use of specific, purpose-built water filters is applicable.

Should you have concerns regarding premature filter blockage, contact City West Water (132 642) for information, advice and assistance.

Why am I getting pink staining on my tiles?

How do I know if I have a pink staining issue?

You will see pink staining on surfaces that will be moist to the touch. These stains can develop in the shower (on and between tiles), the shower head, hand basin or toilet. The stain is removable, but can return within a matter of weeks.

What is it and how did it happen?

Pink staining is not due to water quality, but to naturally occurring airborne microbes that grow upon moist surfaces and create visible pink stains.

These airborne microbes are found naturally in soil and food. The microbes thrive on moisture, favouring humid conditions and less than well-cleaned surfaces.

Can I still drink my water?

Yes. Pink staining does not reflect the quality of your water.

How do I address the issue?

The best solution to minimise or prevent pink staining is to keep affected areas well ventilated, as well as surfaces dry and clean after use.

Using a cleaning solution that contains chlorine will help curtail onset of the staining. A toilet tablet that contains disinfectant can assist to control staining in the toilet bowl.

Water Meter FAQs

Who installs water meters?

A water meter may be installed at the request of City West Water, the property owner or Body Corporate.

The cost of meter installation for:

  • New properties is the responsibility of the property owner.
  • Existing properties is the responsibility of the party requesting a new meter.

In order to have a water meter installed, you must make application to City West Water and pay the appropriate fee.

Meters that are installed will be:

  • Supplied or approved by City West Water.
  • Installed in accordance with conditions set by City West Water.
  • Maintained by City West Water at no extra cost to the customer unless the customer has damaged the meter, made the meter inaccessible or the meter has not been installed in accordance with the conditions set by City West Water.
  • Owned by City West Water once it has been installed.
How do you read my meter if it is not accessible (i.e behind a fence)?

As the property owner it is your responsibility to ensure that you meter is accessible at all times for reading, testing, inspection and replacement by City West Water.

If there is no way for your meter to be easily accessible, we may leave a card in your mailbox asking you to provide a reading to us. Failing that, we may estimate your water use charges. Where we estimate your charges, we will make every effort to obtain an actual reading of your meter at least once every 12 months.

You may arrange for a remote meter reading device to be installed, for a fee. This will allow the meter to be read away from the meter itself, such as on the fence line of the property. We will still require occasional access to the meter for maintenance, replacement and calibration purposes.

When is my meter read?

Meter readings are taken once every three months. If you meter is not easily accessible, we will do our best to obtain a reading every three months, however we may need to estimate your water use if we cannot read the meter.

We will attempt to gain an actual reading of your water meter at least once every 12 months. We may ask you to provide a meter reading to us if we cannot get to the meter.

Need to complete a meter reading? Watch the video at the start of this page for instructions on how to read your meter.

Concession FAQs

What other financial assistance is available?

We offer a range of assistance to customers who are experiencing difficulties paying their bill. See our Set Up a Payment Plan page for more information.

Free, independent and confidential financial counseling services are offered by the following community organisations:

  • Customers in Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Moonee Valley and Wyndham can contact Anglicare on 9731 2500.
  • Customers in Brimbank and Melton can contact Good Shepherd on 1300 786 696.
  • Customers in City of Yarra can contact Kildonan Child and Family Services in 1800 685 682.
  • Customers in City of Hume can contact Lentara Uniting Care on 1300 882 035.

Tenancy Move In/Out

I’m a tenant, can I complete the move in form?

Under the Water Act 1989, only landlords, real estate agents or other authorised agents are responsible for letting us know that a tenant is moving in. For full details, see our Moving in or out page. 

As a tenant what charges am I responsible for?

When you rent a property with a separate water meter, you are responsible for paying the water usage and sewage disposal charges.

These are the common charges for the water that you use while living at the property. For more information see our Charges explained page. 

Grease trap FAQs

Do I need a grease trap?

Your business is required to have a grease trap if it discharges greasy waste as a result of food preparation, cooking or cleaning.

If you are unsure of whether you need a grease trap, please contact us by phone on (03) 9313 8366, via our online contact form, or by email to tradewaste@citywestwater.com.au.

Who needs to install my grease trap?

A licensed plumber must install your grease trap in accordance with our connection requirements.

Who is responsible for maintaining my grease trap?

The occupier of the property is responsible for maintaining your business’s grease trap.

You are required to contact an EPA-licensed liquid waste collector to maintain, or pump out, your grease trap. We do not provide this service.

We recommend that you establish a regular maintenance schedule with your preferred waste collector to ensure that you continue to meet the requirements of your trade waste consent.

How often do I need to have my grease trap pumped out?

Your trade waste agreement will outline the specific maintenance and service requirements for your grease trap. Typically grease traps must be cleaned by EPA-licensed contractor every 3 months.

Accreditation FAQs

For what type of works do I need to be accredited?

Accreditation does not cover sewerage or recycled water treatment assets or assets constructed by Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs).

Regardless of whether the Contractor or Consultant is working for a Land or Property Developer or directly for City West Water, all contractors doing one or more of the following will need to be accredited:

  • Design or construction of new assets, or
  • Design or construction for the modification or renewal of existing assets, or
  • Live sewerage system access, maintenance or inspections.

It is important that you have the correct accreditation before you commence work, as CWW may not accept the work if it has been completed by an unaccredited organisation or person.

How do I know what categories I need to be accredited in?

Descriptions of the accreditation categories are listed in ARCUS and the accredited consultant and contractor lists.

The development conditions or tender documents and contracts for the project will specify the accreditation categories required by the consultant or contractor. If you don’t know which categories are stipulated for a project, contact the CWW project manager for clarification.

How do I find accredited confined space contractors?

Open the accredited contractors list and look for contractors that have SC7, SC8, SC9 or SC10 accreditation. The degree and complexity of construction will dictate which confined space accreditation category is required and this requirement will be listed in CWW’s development or tender/ contract conditions.  

How do I get further information on applying through ARCUS?

For more information or get in touch with CWW’s Accreditation Officer on (03) 9313 8646 or via email.

I'm about to submit a tender but I'm not accredited in the right categories. What can I do?

You can still submit your tender but you must work to achieve the relevant accreditation categories prior to any contracts being signed. Tenderers will find the tender process less time consuming if they are already accredited.

Recycled water laundry connection FAQs

Why should I use recycled water instead of drinking water?

Washing clothes with recycled water can save money on water bills, it has the potential to save 70 litres per household a day and it has been approved by the Department of Health and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

Could recycled water affect the performance of my washing machine?

We conducted research on the impacts of recycled water use on the washing machine and found there were no signs of corrosion or scaling on washing machines.

Is recycled water suitable for washing valuable or delicate items?

Recycled water is suitable for washing all items and you should not notice any difference between washing with recycled water and washing with drinking water.  When washing delicate or valuable items always follow the washing instructions on the tag.

What should I expect when I wash my clothes with recycled water?

You should not notice any difference washing clothes with recycled water compared with drinking water. Your clothes washing detergent has the biggest impact on the quality of clothes washing, not the water you use to wash the clothes.

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