The Consumer Advocacy and Research Fund (CARF) was established under the Water Industry Act 2012 to support research or advocacy that promotes the interests of consumers with a disability, low-income consumers, or consumers who are located within a regional area of South Australia.
Under CARF, SACOSS is funded by the Department of Human Services (DHS) to consult with key consumer groups to identify and recommend to DHS projects to be funded with the objective to ensure that SA water consumers are effectively represented in water regulatory determinations, policy making and market monitoring/development.
The following projects have been funded under CARF.
Funded projects in 2017/18
• Multicultural South Australia Water Consumer Project (Colmar Brunton)
• Supporting Regional Customers in Financial Difficulty Project (Kerri Muller and Jeannette Gellard)
• Achieving Water Security for Sustainable Farming Families and Communities Project (Joanne Tingey-Holyoak, UniSA)
Multicultural South Australia Water Consumer Project (Colmar Brunton)
The objective of the Multicultural South Australia Water Consumer Project is to document the particular issues arising for consumers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (including refugees and asylum seekers) in respect of the use of, cost of, quality of or access to water. The intended outcome is to ensure robust policy and regulatory mechanisms exist which provide for the needs of vulnerable South Australian water consumers, as well as support the interests of all water consumers in South Australia. The project will involve a range of people with different consumer identities and engage them with appropriate qualitative research techniques. Some attention will be paid to regional and rural consumers with diverse backgrounds.
Supporting Regional Customers in Financial Difficulty Project (Kerri Muller and Jeannette Gellard)
The objective of the Supporting Regional Customers in Financial Difficulty Project is to provide minor and intermediate retailers with improved service options for customers in financial difficulty. The intended outcome is to build the capacity of these retailers to further assist customers in financial difficulty. Activities will be aimed at educating retailers on the role of financial counsellors and developing a coordinated approach between retailers and organisations who offer financial counselling.
Achieving Water Security for Sustainable Farming Families and Communities Project (Joanne Tingey-Holyoak, UniSA)
The objective of the Achieving Water Security for Sustainable Farming Families and Communities Project is to improve the sustainability of SA’s farming families by delivering better policies and enhanced equity of water sharing from an important, but often overlooked, asset in SA’s rural landscape – farm dams. The intended outcome is a Water Equity Typology (WET) model for SA which will enable development of guidance for programs that:
- Allow for improved on-farm understanding of the threats of inequitable water sharing
- Improve regional water sharing and contribute toward greater water security for farming communities, and
- Reduce drought and flood impacts that damage yield and create cost burdens for already stressed farming families and communities.
Funded projects in 2016/17
• Minor and Intermediate Retailers Research and Advocacy Project (SAFCA)
• Water Consumers with a Disability Research Project (JFA Purple Orange)
• Tenants and Water Charges Project (UnitingCommunities)
Minor and Intermediate Retailers Research and Advocacy Project (SAFCA)
1 November 2016
Many South Australians receive their water and sewerage services from minor and intermediate size providers. These providers are mainly in regional South Australia, with approximately 5,700 customers receiving drinking water and 89,000 people serviced by either a Community Wastewater Management System (CWMS) or Septic Tank Effluent Drainage Service (STEDS).
The South Australian Financial Counsellors Association (SAFCA) undertook a research project that surveyed 200 residential home owners who receive one or both services, to understand their levels of customer satisfaction.
Water Consumers with a Disability Research Project (JFA Purple Orange)
30 June 2017
The research found that those households with a person living with a disability tended to consume extra water due to additional needs such as extra laundry due to incontinence, longer bathing needs, pain relief showers, and the need to sterilize medical equipment. There were also issues related to water supply such as when supply disruptions impacted the ability to maintain personal hygiene and manage health conditions.