Water management prices are set by IPART, including the share of water costs to be paid for by users and the share to be paid by government.
Irrigators pay fees and charges on their water licences, which is used to manage water resources in the state, including water planning, infrastructure and operations.
Water users (largely irrigators) pay significant proportions of costs for water management, infrastructure and operations – even those that serve the broader community, or public interest.
Few people realise irrigators pay for 80% of capital expenses, and 100% of operational expenses to manage our waterways. This is an incredibly high proportion of costs, when irrigators use only around 25 per cent of total flows.
For example, water users pay for:
- 100% of systems operation and water availability management;
- 80% of environmental water management;
- 80% of the development of water planning and regulatory frameworks;
- 95% of water delivery and other operations;
- 80% of water quality monitoring;
- 80% of flood operations;
- 80% of environmental planning and protection;
- 100% metering and compliance.
IPART undertake pricing determinations every 4 years, with annual reviews. The most recent pricing determination (2021) led to significant price hikes to irrigators’ water bills by up 10-52%, well above the 3.8 per cent CPI rate. The reason for this decision was due to the significant changes to water management in the state over the recent years.
NSWIC is actively involved in providing submissions to the pricing determinations and reviews, striving for prices to be transparent, with cost appropriately shared, and to mitigate severe price impacts on irrigators.