Customer service standards

Our mission

To provide drinking water to the National Health and Medical Research Council standards to residences and businesses and collect, treat and manage the reclaimed water in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

Our Charter

We will provide a high level of service to our customers by:

  1. involving you, our customers, through your Customer Consultative Committee in the management of each water supply and sewerage scheme.
  2. aiming to meet or exceed service targets that have been set in consultation with the Customer Consultative Committee, and will publicly report annually on our performance in achieving these targets.
  3. providing you with information on your account details, water use and future water availability to support your business.
  4. working with you, or through your Customer Consultative Committee, to schedule planned maintenance at a time that suits most customers.
  5. respecting your privacy by treating any personal information in the strictest confidence, and not giving any information about you to any other organisation or person without your consent, unless we are required to by law.
  6. ensuring that any concerns or complaints you may have about our service are handled promptly and efficiently.
  7. working with you to help you select the services and products that best meet your business needs.
  8. being available 24 hours a day to rectify critical supply problems and respond to emergency situations.
  9. being courteous and helpful in providing our services.

Our commitment to our customers

This charter will inform you of the services provided by Kempsey Shire Council and our commitments and your responsibilities regarding the delivery of water and sewerage services. It is one very real way we are able to demonstrate our aim of providing the best customer service in the water industry.

This charter outlines a number of performance standards we aim to achieve in delivering water and sewerage services. These standards have been set in consultation with customer representatives.

This charter also will help you if you need advice or wish to contact Kempsey Shire Council on any matter.

Consultation and information

Customer Consultative Committee

A Customer Consultative Committee for water services has been established with a view to obtaining customer input into Water Services planning and decision-making process. Membership is drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds including the residential, social, welfare, business and rural sectors. This will help us respond better to the changing needs and concerns of our customers.

The Customer Consultative Committee provides a direct link between Kempsey Shire Council and its customers ensuring that we:

  • remain responsive to customer needs
  • can understand issues and possible solutions from the perspective of interest groups
  • involve the community in projects from the beginning ensuring its views are considered as part of the project
  • have access to valuable community knowledge
  • receive feedback about our customer service performance
  • are advised about new or modified customer service requirements.

Our service targets

1. Water quality

We aim to supply you with water that is reliable and continuous, safe to drink, consistent with National Health & Medical Research Council Guidelines and free from objectionable taste and odour.

If you have any concerns with water quality please contact us.

2. Water flow rates

We will provide a water supply to meet your reasonable needs, with a minimum flow rate as shown in the table below:

Diameter of the water service pipe (mm) 20 25 32 40 50
Minimum flow rate (litres per minute) 20 35 60 90 160

Note that:

  • single residential properties (houses) usually have a water service pipe of 20mm diameter
  • the flow rate for a 20mm water service pipe is measured at the tap at the water meter
  • otherwise, the flow rate is measured at the outlet of your property service pipe. For safety reasons, this should only be done by Macleay Water or a licensed plumber.

However, we may provide you with less than the minimum flow rate if:

  • there is a planned or unplanned interruption to your water supply
  • there is water shortage due to a drought, peak summer demand, or unavoidable cause.

We often find that complaints about dirty water are caused by customers' own water pipes on their property that have become old and rusted inside. Your plumber can help you in this situation.

3. Sewerage

We aim to supply you with a sewerage service which is reliable and continuous and is operated in an environmentally responsible manner with minimal odours.

Sewer overflows

Where a sewer overflow occurs on your property because of a failure in our system, we will act to minimise the damage and inconvenience and clean up the affected area as quickly as possible. Please contact us and we will endeavour to help you further if you are not completely satisfied with the standard of clean up.

Sewer blockages

If your sewer becomes blocked and the blockage is our responsibility, Council will pay the plumber (provided the plumber obtains our consent before clearing the blockage).

If the blockage is your responsibility, you will have to pay the plumber's costs.

Residential tenants may be able to claim the cost from their landlord under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

4. Liquid Trade Waste

We will accept liquid trade waste only when it is safe to do so and you have an agreement with us.

5. Continuous Service

Planned works

We will give you two working days' notice of our intention to interrupt, postpone or limit water or sewerage services to your property for planned maintenance works. We will also advise you how long the service will be interrupted.

Unplanned interruption

Council will ensure there are no more than five unplanned interruptions to your water supply and no more than three unplanned interruptions to your sewerage service in any year.

In the event of an emergency or an unplanned interruption to your water supply or sewerage service, we will try to contact you if access is required to your property to carry out repairs to the water main or sewer.

6. Our priorities

Kempsey Shire Council Water Services prioritises the response to water and sewerage systems failure that may occur from time to time.

For water supply services these are:
Priority 1:
Response Times
1 hour (business hours)
2 hours (after hours)
Pump station failure
Water Treatment Plant Malfunction
Valve failure
Major main break
Priority 2:
Response Times
2 hours (business hours)
4 hours (after hours)
Minor main break
Leaking property connection
Telemetry failure
Partial valve failure
Priority 3:
Response Time
1 working day
Leak from water main
Leak from hydrant
Partial failure of property connection
Priority 4:
Response Time
Within 2 weeks
Minor problem or complaint which can be dealt with at a time convenient to customer and Council, e.g. a minor leak in a water service.
For sewerage services these are:
Priority 1:
Response Times
1 hour (business hours)
2 hours (after hours)
Break, collapse, blockage, overloading of system, failure of pumping station.
Priority 2:
Response Times
2 hours (business hours)
4 hours (after hours)
Cracked pipe or partial blockage of the sewer.
Priority 3:
Response Time
1 working day
Sudden extra hydraulic load which backs up but then clears itself
Partial main blockage
Partial house service blockage
Broken junction connection
Priority 4:
Response Time
Within 2 weeks
A minor problem or complaint which can be dealt with at a time convenient to customer and Council - e.g. adjustments to manholes etc.

All about accounts

We issue accounts to customers for the availability and use of water and sewerage services. Accounts are issued every 3 months, which is four times per year. Accounts must be paid by the due date or interest will be charged.

"How can I pay my account?"

We'd like to make this easy for you. You can pay in any of the following ways:

  • At any Post Office
  • By mail using cheque to PO Box 3078, West Kempsey, NSW 2440
  • By telephone using your credit card through Australia Post. See your water account for directions.
  • In person at any of our offices, by cash, EFTPOS, cheque or credit card.
  • By direct debit from your bank account (you arrange this with your financial institution).

"What can I do if I think my account is incorrect?"

If you think your account is incorrect, please contact us on 02 6566 3200. If the account is incorrect, we will fix the problem straight away.

"…and if I think I'm entitled to a concession?"

If you hold any of the following cards you are entitled to a concession on your account. Please call us on 02 6566 3200 so we can help you.

  • Pensioner Concession Card
  • Department of Veterans' Affairs Gold Card (TPI and War Widows)

"What if I'm a tenant in a property?"

You will receive an account for your water usage only, provided:

  • Your water is separately metered
  • We have been told you are the tenant. Tenants should discuss this with their agent.

Your real estate agent should read the meter when you start or finish a tenancy so you pay only for the water you use. If you do not ensure the meter is read you may become responsible for the previous or following tenant's charges.

"What can I do if I am planning to change my address?"

Normally your solicitor will arrange for notification of Council as part of the conveyancing procedure if you are selling your house.

If you are moving without the use of a solicitor, please add us to the huge list of people you need to notify. In fact, please give us two days notice as we have to read your meter before you leave. There will be a charge for this special reading.

"I'm having difficulty paying my account. What can I do?"

Call us on 02 – 6566 3200 as soon as possible so we can help. We will provide you with information about alternative payment arrangements.

We have payment schemes that will put you in control of your account payments, enabling you to pay an agreed regular amount. The easiest way to do this is by Direct Debit from your bank account. Ask us how by calling 02 6566 3200. We will send a reminder notice to you if your account remains unpaid after the due date. You may have just forgotten or have been on holidays.

All about water meters

"Why do I need a water meter?"

Water meters measure the amount of water that has entered your property. Our usage charges are based upon this measurement.

Our meter readers enter your reading into electronic modules that automatically compare your current usage with the amount used in your previous period. If it is much higher than the time before, we will let you know. There may be an unidentified water leak on your property (under your home, for example).

Getting to the meter

It's your responsibility to keep your meter accessible so that we can read it regularly. Sometimes home security systems, guard dogs and prickly bushes stop us from reading the meter. In these circumstances we may estimate the amount of water used, based on previous usage.

If there is anything that may prevent us from accessing the meter or present a danger to our meter readers, please inform us so we can make alternative arrangements.

Please call 02 – 6566 3200 for further details.

"What can I do if I think my meter is inaccurate?"

We have special equipment that will allow us to test the accuracy of your meter. There will be a charge for this service. If the test shows the meter is inaccurate, we will replace the meter and refund the cost of the test. We will also refund any amount you were overcharged due to a faulty meter.

"What happens if my meter is damaged?"

Water meters remain our property. Call us immediately if you think they have been damaged. Depending on the circumstances of the damage, we may recover the cost of the repair from the person responsible for the damage.

Be especially careful when mowing long grass. Identify the meter position with something visible. Cover your meter to protect it from frost damage.

Emergencies and maintenance

If you have no water or if there is a sewerage spill or other emergency maintenance is required, please call us, night or day, on the following number: (02) 6566 3200.

"What can I do if I see pumps, pipes or equipment damaged?"

We need your help in making sure the extensive network of pipes, pumps, signs and valves keeps working effectively and continually.
We can't be everywhere all the time, but our customers are. If you see something that is wrong or damaged with any of our equipment or installations, please call us anytime of the day or night.

"…And if there is a burst water pipe?"

Burst water mains are characterize by one or more key factors:

  • Sudden loss of water pressure
  • Water may suddenly become dirty or have irregular pressure
  • An unexplained hissing sound
  • Very loud sudden 'hammering' sound in water pipes
  • A persistent damp or unusually green area on the lawn or nature strip
  • A continually damp pothole on the road during dry weather
  • Water leaking up from a metal valve cover on the road.
  1. Call us, anytime of the day or night.
  2. After you call, we will assess the situation and respond accordingly.

"My water usage seems unusually high. Why?"

You may have a leaking pipe or appliance somewhere on your property.

  1. Turn off all water appliances and taps and take a meter reading. DO NOT turn off the stop tap, which is the tap on your meter.
  2. Read the meter again after several hours, or preferably early the next day. If the reading has moved, it is likely that there is a leak on your property. You will need the services of a qualified plumber to help you locate it.
  3. Call us on 02 6566 3200 if you require any further assistance.

"What can I do if my service pipe needs maintenance?"

The service pipe is the pipe that connects the large water main in the street to your meter.

If you think there is a problem with the service pipe please call us.

General information

"What can I do if my water or sewerage service is interrupted?"

Information about any interruption of service can be obtained by telephoning us on the following number 02 6566 3200.

If you have no water or there is a sewerage spill, please call us, anytime of the night or day.

"What about storm water?"

Stormwater is any type of water originating from the outside of your home that leaves your property. Stormwater cannot be diverted to the sewerage system.

"What should I do if I want to renovate, extend or build on my property?"

For starters, you will need a licensed plumber and then our consent to perform the work. We offer free technical advice on all aspects of water and sewerage services and we'll be glad to help.

"What can I do if I have a life support machine?"

If you have a life support machine, please register with us. This way we will make sure we know to contact you well before any planned interruption. We will contact you immediately we know of any unplanned interruption in your area. You will also be eligible for a small free water allocation towards use of the machine.

"How can I make the best use of my water?"

We're keen to show our customers how to use water effectively, so you get the best value for money, and enjoy all the benefits that water brings to our lives. You now have more control over your water costs than ever before.

Call us for more information on how to best use water in the home and in your garden.

"I would like to collect rainwater or recycle domestic wastewater?"

You have a right to collect and store rainwater for your own use. We are not responsible for maintaining this service or providing any minimum level of water quality.

The Department of Health recommends you do not link your water tank into your general house plumbing.

In general, you cannot recycle domestic wastewater in urban areas. It is your responsibility to check with Council and the Department of Health for conditions and approval. This will ensure that your property is suitable for certain re-use applications and the re-use will not be dangerous to your health or your neighbour's health.

For further information, phone (02) 6566 3200