In this stage, we sought to explore what you valued about our services and the issues most important to you, to inform the development of a set of Customer Outcomes.

The Outcomes represent our commitment to customers, and articulate the value they should expect to receive from our services over the Price Submission period.

Customer and community values

Through workshops with the community and our retail water company customers, we collaborated on a set of values to guide the development of our Submission, and inform our Customer Outcomes. A representative panel of 41 community members met in March 2019 to identify 12 values:

Six priority values to guide our Price Submission:

Environment and sustainability


Forward thinking

For everyone



And another six values to suppport our decision-making:

Honesty and integrity




System-wide collaboration

Value for money

We also asked a similar question of our direct customers in Melbourne’s retail water companies. They said they valued the reliable delivery of core water supply and sewerage services, and were keen for a more collaborative approach that acknowledged the unique circumstances of their own customers – the community – and demonstrated a greater sense of responsibility towards them.

For more information on the community co-design vision and values workshop, view the following report or video from the day.

Focus areas

Through undertaking social research, sharing industry insights and working closely with our two Customer Councils, we identified key focus areas that were important for our Submission to address.

Water and sewerage focus areas

The Water and Sewerage Customer Council recommended ten focus areas for further engagement, grouped under four themes:

Safe, reliable services

  • Safe drinking water
  • Long-term water supply and security
  • Long-term sewerage needs
  • Servicing growth
  • Risk

Fair and affordable access

  • Asset transfer
  • Water pricing

Environmental conservation and supporting the community

  • Integrated water management
  • Production and supply of recycled water

A better customer experience

  • Community and environment

Waterways and drainage focus areas

For waterways and drainage services, focus areas were identified according to the Waterways and Drainage Investment Plan. The Waterways and Drainage Customer Council identified topics where further information would be required to support meaningful engagement in subsequent stages of the program.


Waterway condition

Cultural values

Access to land and water

Flood risk management

Emergency response

Urban development

Education and engagement

Key research themes

Several pieces of research found that our core services (water supply and sewerage) were highly valued by the community, who recognised the broader health and environmental benefits they provide. There were concerns about long-term water security and the impacts of population growth and climate change, and a desire to protect the environment while maintaining affordability.

These findings were largely consistent with insights from the retail water companies, which centred on themes of customer experience, affordability, educating and empowering the community, environmental sustainability, and water conservation and security.

Of Melbourne Water’s services:

  • Water supply was the most valued, with issues of water security and availability top of mind and strong support for alternative sources.
  • Sewerage was the second-most valued but less visible or well-understood, with people happy to ‘flush and forget’.
  • Waterways were valued for their contribution to community wellbeing and natural habitat, though there were concerns about their management in the face of increasing pollution and population growth.
  • Drainage was not well understood, with low community exposure to flooding resulting in divided views about relevance of flood mitigation measures.

Although there was low awareness and understanding of Melbourne Water’s responsibilities, once informed, participants felt reassured and supportive of investments and increased community engagement and education – believing it to have a positive impact on bill acceptance and water conservation behaviours.