It has been revealed that growers seeking to access water through the Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme (NAIS) may have to pay up to eight times more than current prices under the existing Virginia Pipeline Scheme (VPS).
SA Water has released an indicative minimum water price of 49c/kl and up to 99c/kl for higher quality water under the 12 GL NAIS proposal.
This is significantly more expensive than water supplied through the existing VPS which is reportedly between 8.34c/kl and 15.8c/kl for many growers.
“Many growers on the Northern Adelaide Plains simply won’t be able to afford these high water prices,” said Acting Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Adrian Pederick.
“The $155.6 million NAIS proposal has received bipartisan support and is an important project that will create much needed jobs in the northern suburbs, increase horticulture production and boost South Australia’s exports.
“However SA Water’s indicative pricing will prevent many local and existing growers from accessing some of the 12 GL of water to be made available under this scheme.
“SA Water is trying to claw back costs at the expense of our local primary producers.
“At a time when households and businesses are already struggling with sky rocketing ESL and electricity bills, many growers simply can’t afford these higher water costs.
“The Weatherill Government must listen to the horticulture industry and instruct SA Water to re-evaluate their indicative pricing.
“South Australia’s primary industries form the backbone of our economy and we need to ensure that our primary producers have every chance to keep increasing production, exports and create new jobs.
“This is just another example of how out of touch the Weatherill Government is with our primary industries and regional South Australia.”