Irrigation costs could increase for farmers.
Irrigation costs could increase for farmers. contributed pic.

Why water prices could be set to rise for irrigators

THE Queensland Competition Authority has mooted some probable rises in the price of water for irrigation, with the possibility of  the extra funds being used to upgrade the safety of dams.

It comes as the QCA announced a draft irrigation pricing review was available for feedback, with two main options on the table.

The draft report, which has been provided to Treasurer Jackie Trad and Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Anthony Lynham, comes following more than 100 submissions to the QOA and 15 workshops state-wide.

Several stakeholder submissions relevant to the Bundaberg scheme were received, and a workshop in February enabled the QCA to address queries around operating costs, the renewals annuity, tariff structure, dam safety and other matters in the region.

The QCA is inviting stakeholders in  the Bundaberg region to provide additional feedback as part of its ongoing consultation, ahead of the anticipated release of the final report in February.

The review, the first of its kind since 2013, covers irrigation prices for water supply schemes operated by Sunwater and Seqwater from July 1 next year till June 30, 2024, and makes a range of recommendations to the state.

QCA Chair Professor Flavio Menezes said it proposed "cost-reflective" adjustments to existing tariffs, which meant that while some water supply schemes faced potential small price changes, others faced increases.

He said, at the government's instruction, the QCA had proposed two sets of prices for schemes with planned dam safety upgrades -  one which included apportioning a share of dam safety upgrade expenditure to irrigators, and one that did not.

"The QCA's draft recommendations, if adopted, would result in price increases for some schemes," he said.

"It's important to remember that a pricing review has not been done for seven years, and this is the first time the government has instructed us to consider apportioning the costs of dam safety upgrades."



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