Price Hike for Irrigators Proposed

Article from The Land.

WaterNSW and the Water Administration Ministerial Corporation (WAMC) have proposed large increases in costs for irrigators from July 2021. The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is currently reviewing both cost proposals and is calling for submissions from stakeholders.

WAMC have proposed price increases for regulated river, unregulated river, groundwater and minimum annual charge customers be capped at five per cent per year (plus inflation), equating to 22pc over a four year period from 2021 to 2025.

WaterNSW’s pricing proposal for its rural bulk water services varies for different valleys, but outlines an increase of up to 32.5pc for high security fixed charges (for the Namoi) and up to 1.6pc for general security fixed charges (for the Border Rivers) in the 2021 to 2022 period.

Variable usage charges are set to rise by up to 11.1pc, again for the Namoi. Other valleys will see price drops of up to 4.7pc for general security fixed costs (the Lachlan) and up to 8pc for variable usage charges (the Peel).

WaterNSW’s price proposal summary stated to provide customers with drought relief while also recognising the impacts of COVID-19, WaterNSW was proposing a one-year regulatory period instead of the usual four-year period.

IPART chairman Dr Paul Paterson said their price reviews will focus on assessing whether the proposed cost increases are justified.

“WAMC is proposing large increases in water planning, management and regulation costs. It has indicated these increases are needed to meet its customers’ priorities and provide a higher level of service than in the past,” Dr Paterson said.

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