Australians across the country can expect to pay double for their water supply within 20 years unless there is major reform, a report from Infrastructure Australia (IA) says.
The lack of investment in ageing infrastructure, population growth in urban centres and climate change will all play a part in pushing up prices.
The average residential water and sewerage bill could be $2500 higher by 2040, according to modelling commissioned by IA.
The independent statutory body recommends privatising water and sewerage companies, but notes regulatory reform and more efficient use of existing infrastructure and better maintenance are critical to keeping downward pressure on bills.
"For many families, growth in bills of this scale could cause significant hardship. In the context of slow wage growth and rising cost-of-living pressures, including increasing bills across other forms of infrastructure, it is imperative that the urban water sector ensures services remain affordable," the report said.
"Managing emerging-cost drivers should, therefore, be front-of-mind for governments, regulators and utilities alike."
© AAP 2017
Image credit: pixabay.com