Waterways and drainage prices

View current prices for our Waterways and Drainage Charge and information on other special drainage areas, including Patterson Lakes and the Koo Wee Rup–Longwarry Flood Protection District.

These charges are collected by your retail water company on our behalf, and are not related to water or sewerage services.

Waterways and Drainage Charge

Everyone in Greater Melbourne benefits from a well-managed drainage network and healthy waterways. The Waterways and Drainage Charge is the fairest way of funding these services, and is set by Victoria’s independent pricing regulator: the Essential Services Commission. Any price increases are in line with their approved price movements plus inflation.

The price you’ll pay depends on your property type:

  • residential: a fixed fee is charged to all residential properties within the Urban Growth Boundary, which defines where development can occur. Urban areas within the boundary benefit from most of our major pipe and channel drainage systems, as well as our flood protection and waterway services.
  • non-residential: commercial properties inside the Urban Growth Boundary – like warehouses, factories, shops, offices, hotels and airports – pay a charge based on the net annual value of their property ($NAV), subject to a minimum fee. There are two exceptions, which pay the flat minimum fee:
    • customers within the Urban Growth Boundary extension that occurred in 2010
    • customers within the 2005 extension of Melbourne Water’s service area boundary (including Mornington Peninsula Shire).
  • rural: a fixed fee is charged to customers within our Waterways Management District but outside the Urban Growth Boundary, who benefit from our waterway services and some aspects of flood protection. They receive a lower charge reflecting the lower level of drainage and flood protection services compared to urban customers.

Prices from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 

Property type Annual charge
Residential (per annum)​ $105.56
Non-residential – minimum charge (per annum)​ $158.60
Non-residential – rate in $NAV (cents per annum)​ $0.4218
Rural $57.96

How the charge is applied

Section 259 of the Water Act 1989 (Part 13) permits Melbourne Water to levy waterways and drainage charges on properties within its “Waterway Management District”. All properties deemed rateable under the meaning of the Local Government Act 1989 are liable for the Waterways and Drainage Charge – so, if you pay council rates, the charge will apply.

For both residential and non-residential properties, charges are applied based on the rateable land of each ‘separate occupancy’, as classified by Council.

For non-residential properties, your annual charge rate is established by multiplying the property’s Net Annual Value (as determined by council, and converted to its value in 1990 using Victorian Valuer-General indices) by the rate approved by the Essential Services Commission.

Additional service areas

Special drainage charges are applied to property owners in the Patterson Lakes and Koo Wee Rup–Longwarry Flood Protection Districts, for works and services that specifically relate to these areas.

Patterson Lakes

In the Patterson Lakes special drainage area, user-pays pricing applies to the higher levels of service provided to the Tidal Waterways and Quiet Lakes communities of Lake Legana and Lake Illawong. These services include access to jetties and annual maintenance, and an annual bore flushing charge. Read more about user-pays pricing.

Koo Wee Rup – Longwarry Flood Protection District

Landowners in the Koo Wee Rup – Longwarry Flood Protection District pay a special precept rate which funds the drainage services provided exclusively in the area. The Koo Wee Rup – Longwarry Flood Protection District was once a swampland, which was drained in the 1800s. Purpose-built drainage infrastructure has enabled people to live and farm in the district and helps to protect the area from floods.

Properties in the district do not pay the general Waterways and Drainage Charge that applies to properties in the other parts of Melbourne Water’s operating region.

Continuation of the pricing reform commenced in 2013 and concluding in 2026 which will see Divisions A and B replaced with a single cost-reflective price. Unique price paths apply for all individual properties to transition to the single cost-reflective price. During this regulatory period, the cost of service will be subjected to annual consumer price index adjustments, with customers moving to a higher level of service and covered by a higher average price when customers indicate they are willing to pay for additional service levels.

Learn more about the precept rate and the district.

Last updated:
30 June 2021