Water charges & meters

Water accounts

Kempsey Shire Council issues combined rates and water notices four times a year. 

How to pay your bill

For information on how to pay your rates and water charges, see our Make a payment page.

Pensioner concession

If you have a Pensioner Concession Card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card (TPI and War Widows), you are eligible for a concession on your account.

Please note: the concession applies to the water access charges and not the usage

Please call us on 6566 3200 so we can arrange this for you.

Tenants in rental properties

As a tenant, you will receive an account for your water usage only if:

  • your water is separately metered
  • Council has been told you are the tenant.

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.

Late payments

You must pay your accounts by the due date or we will charge you interest on the amount you owe. Please contact Council on 6566 3200 if you are having genuine difficulties paying your rates or water charges. We will provide you with information about alternative payment arrangements.

Water charges in 2023-24

The amount we charge you for water depends on the size of your water meter and how much water you have used.

Part 1:
Access charge based on your meter size


Part 2:
Usage charge $3.19 per kilolitre up to 250kL
Usage charge $4.61 per kilolitre after 250kL
(1 kilolitre = 1000 litres)


Access charges

Meter size Annual charge
20mm $391
25mm $605
32mm $984
40mm $1,533
50mm $2,389
80mm $6,087
100mm $9,506
150mm $21,377
200mm $38,608
Unconnected properties $391
Recycled water (South West Rocks) No charge

Water meters

Your water meter measures the amount of water that has entered your property. The water usage charges you have to pay are based on this measurement.

A water meter is usually installed on the boundary of a property where Council meter readers can easily access it. Meters may be located elsewhere for units or rural or commercial properties.

It is your responsibility to make sure your water meter is easy to access at all times. Sometimes home security systems, guard dogs and overgrown bushes stop us from reading the meter. In these circumstances, we may estimate the amount of water used based on your previous usage.

Quarterly meter reads

Water meters are read in September, December, March and June each year.

Our meter readers have equipment that compares your current usage with the amount you used in the previous period. If your usage is much higher than the time before, we will let you know, as there may be an unidentified water leak on your property.

How to read your water meter

Download our factsheet on How to Read Your Water Meter(PDF, 755KB)

Stormwater levy

What is the stormwater levy?

The stormwater levy was introduced to treat stormwater like water and sewer services and set a base level charge for property owners. Council has been able to levy a stormwater management charge since 2006 under the Local Government Act 1993 but levied the charge for the first time in 2017-18.

The purpose of the stormwater levy is to allow councils to raise income to improve stormwater systems in urban areas. 

How much is the levy?

The levy is capped at $25 per property for residential properties and $12.50 for lots in a strata scheme. Business properties are charged at $25 per property in the first year and then $25 per 350m² of impervious surface area per property in subsequent years.

Which properties does it apply to?

The stormwater levy is generally restricted to business or residential rated properties in urban (non-rural) areas. Land in rural areas, including rural residential, is excluded from the charge. Public land, vacant land and land belonging to charities are also excluded.

Aerial photography and existing rating and billing information were used to determine the properties where the charge will be applied. Some inspections were completed to verify if lots were vacant.

View which properties in the shire are included in the Rates Maps(PDF, 5MB).

What can I do if I think the levy shouldn’t be applied to my property?

If you think the levy should not apply to your property, you will need to appeal the application of the levy in writing. You should write to the General Manager, Kempsey Shire Council, PO Box 3078, West Kempsey NSW 2440, clearly stating the address of the property. Council staff will review the situation and formally respond to you. 

How much money will the levy raise and where will it be spent?

The levy is expected to raise about $200,000. Income from the levy will be spent on planning, constructing and maintaining drainage systems and treatment devices and/or stormwater harvesting and reuse. Council is audited each year to ensure that income raised through the levy is spent on stormwater systems.

The additional funds have been allocated to projects through Council's delivery and operating plans. Please see the list of projects below.

Gross pollutant trap upgrades - South West Rocks and Crescent Head (14 of)

2017-18 - $105,000

Gross pollutant trap cleaning - additional frequency and maintenance

2017-18 - $15,000
2018-19 - $15,000
2019-20 - $25,000
2020-21 - $15,000

Urban open drain cleaning and repairs

2017-18 - $7,500
2018-19 - $5,000
2019-20 - $5,000
2020-21 - $5,000

Urban stormwater pipe cleaning

2017-18 - $15,000
2018-19 - $5,000
2019-20 - $10,000
2020-21 - $5,000

Install lockable grates to prevent disposal of waste into stormwater

2017-18 - $25,000
2018-19 - $15,000

Gross pollutant trap outlet treatments

2020-21 - $50,000

Dangar/Tozer Street, West Kempsey - augmentation 375mm 30m

2017-18 - $25,000

Hodgson Street, Crescent Head - augmentation

2020-21 - $38,150

Korogora Street to Hodgson Street, Crescent Head - augmentation A8

2020-21 - $87,200

Frederickton trunk drainage

2018-19 - $150,000
2019-20 - $150,000

John Street, Smithtown - new pits, pipe and outlet/flap to drain sag point 30m

2019-20 - $8,000

Hat Head - investigate future needs

2017-18 - $7,500

Stuarts Point - investigate future needs

2018-19 - $10,000

Who benefits?

If you are a property owner, you will benefit from improved drainage and reduction of potential damage to your property. The wider community will benefit from improved drainage system performance and discharged water quality.

Do I need to have a kerb and gutter or be physically connected to the stormwater system?

Not necessarily. Properties may be charged if they are in an urban area and if they benefit from Council’s Stormwater Management Service. In some areas the program of works from the stormwater levy will support the extension of new kerb and guttering within the roads program. Over time improvements will be achieved throughout the whole system to increase capacity and treat the stormwater to improve its quality. This will benefit everyone.

Are there any rebates like the ones I get for my rates?

The concessions that apply to ordinary rates, domestic waste management, water and sewerage do not apply to the stormwater levy.