Water price rise causes producer pain

Water price rise causes producer pain

Sheep
Woods Well farmer Adam Merry says the rising cost of mains water has forced him to run more sheep, rather than cattle, as they consumer less water.

Woods Well farmer Adam Merry says the rising cost of mains water has forced him to run more sheep, rather than cattle, as they consumer less water.

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LIVESTOCK producers using mains water have been hit with another price increase, with SA Water costs rising from $3.24 a kilolitre to $3.30/kL in July this year.

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LIVESTOCK producers using mains water have been hit with another price increase, with SA Water costs rising from $3.24 a kilolitre to $3.30/kL in July this year.

Woods Well farmer Adam Merry runs 300 Angus cattle and 2300 crossbred ewes on his 2400-hectare property, and was surprised to discover the price rise upon receiving his SA Water bill this week.

“The price of mains water was $1/kL when we purchased this property in 2000,” he said.

“Although this was the sole water source on the property, this was a viable price for livestock production and influenced our decision to buy at the time. Since then the mains water price has gone up 300 per cent.

“My water bill today shows the price has increased to $3.30kL since the start of July 2017.”

Mr Merry said the price rise meant he had to change his enterprise mix from solely cattle to more sheep, due to their lower water consumption. He says on-farm water leaks also put pressure on landholders, even if they have installed leak detection technology. 

“When you can’t find a leak you know you are wasting money for every hour you can’t find it,” he said.

“As the Coorong Water Transportation Scheme has not gone ahead with SA Water, we have investigated various options to secure our on farm water security. We have explored options such as a pipeline from Lake Albert or Tintinara, a lined water catchment, or even on-farm desalination.

“The commonsense approach would be a reduction in the SA Water pricing to reduce duplication of pipeline assets.”

Mr Merry said local producer would benefit from access to grants and interest-free loans to help them invest in potential solutions.

“It seems that River Murray irrigators have received plenty of government support over the last decade or so. We are also keen to save Murray water so it would be ideal to receive some financial support to open up our options,” he said.

“Another potential solution would be to establishment a water cost rebate system similar to the primary producer diesel rebate.” 

  • A livestock water security public meeting will be held at the Coonalpyn Town Hall at 7pm on Thursday, November 16. SA Best representatives Nick Xenophon and Rebekha Sharkie will also be in attendance.
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