Goulburn-Murray Water is promising lower price rises for water under a $20million water savings plan over the next five years.By Geoff Adams
Goulburn-Murray Water is promising lower price rises for water under a $20
The strategy, dubbed ‘The Blueprint’ sets out reductions for some irrigation districts such as Shepparton.
The organisation has already announced cost-cutting measures and staff redundancies which will saving about $6
Managing director Gavin Hanlon expects the staff numbers, some from natural attrition, to drop from about 800 to about 600 at the end of five years.
He briefed the media and water services committee chairs last week, explaining that with 30 per cent of water having been sold out of the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District since 2007, G-MW had to trim back and modernise its structure.
He said otherwise the under-utilisation of assets would lead to higher costs and higher tariffs for customers which would otherwise climb by 40 to 80 per cent in five years.
Mr Hanlon said the blueprint would be made available in about four weeks.
VFF Water Council chairman Richard Anderson said it was too early to pass comment on the blueprint until he saw more detail and was unsure of why G-MW had started consultations without having the document available.
Asked about uniform charges across the different districts, he said it was VFF policy to separate capital works for each district to ensure transparency.
Central Goulburn Water Services Committee chairman Peter Hacon also said he couldn’t make judgments on the strategy until he could see it.
He said future pricing was one of the most significant areas that he would be looking at.
G-MW will attempt to standardise pricing across the major gravity irrigation districts during the next five years, with Shepparton due for a significant reduction.
The water corporation is currently rolling out its connections program which will see about 85 per cent of irrigators connected to channel backbones, but will also see some irrigators forced to consider sharing infrastructure, amalgamating properties or relinquishing access to irrigation water.
‘‘We’d like to think it happens in a negotiated and voluntary way,’’ Mr Hanlon said.
Total channel length is expected to be cut by about 50 per cent.
‘‘The connections program is about matching infrastructure to the amount of water we have, and we have to realign tariffs to match the system as a whole,’’ Mr Hanlon said.
‘‘The blueprint is to explain what we want G-MW and tariffs to look like in five years and to provide confidence to customers so they can make their plans.’’
He said since 2007 30 per cent of water had been sold out of GMID, resulting in under-utilisation of assets and cost pressures on customers.
‘‘We estimate about 1050
He said that figure could decline to about 900
Under-utilisation and maintenance costs could push prices up between 40 and 80 per cent.
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