On 1 July 2014, Hunter Water Corporation of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, awarded an eight-year, US$193 million operation and maintenance contract to Veolia Water Australia for its 19 wastewater and six water treatment plants.
Hunter is NSW’s second largest municipal water utility (10th in Australia), and this is the first time the firm has outsourced asset management after a 2012 state audit review suggested outsourcing to cut costs. Hunter Water served over 230,000 water supply and 220,000 wastewater connections through the first half of 2013.
Australia has seen an ongoing policy shift towards reducing water tariffs as the government seeks to cut costs and tap the private sector for further investment.
- Hunter contract a major step strengthening Veolia municipal presence.
- Government lays the groundwork for further private participation in water.
- Further steps toward private participation likely to remain incremental.