13 January, 2023
Water savings for local horticultural growers
FNQ Growers has welcomed news from Sunwater about a trial which is providing electricity tariff relief for relift irrigators.
The savings are associated with the cost of electricity Sunwater uses to pump water to farms.
President Joe Moro said the 2020-21 results of Sunwater’s Electricity Cost Pass Through (ECPT) trial were recently presented to the Tinaroo Water Committee.
“Historically, there has been huge debate about soaring electricity prices for those relift irrigators, around 100 growers in the Mareeba and Mutchilba area who pump water from the Mareeba Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme,” Mr Moro said.
“As a result of lobbying efforts, Sunwater car-ried out a trial and secured special tariffs to be able to pass on savings to relift irrigators.
“The pass-through rate to be applied to irriga-tion bills is a credit amount of $15.01/ML.”
The trial ends on 30 June 2023, after which Sunwater will collate the final results and seek customer feedback before determining whether a permanent ECPT mechanism will be implemented.
Mr Moro said growers were also encouraged to apply to the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority to claim a rebate to offset water used to irrigate horticultural crops.
The Horticulture Pricing Rebate Scheme provides rebates of 35 per cent. It is funded by the Queensland Government to the tune of $81.6 million over three years. Mr Moro urged irrigators to apply for the rebate soon, to avoid missing out.
“We thank the Queensland Government for providing the funding,” he said.
“Water is an essential input for horticultural growers. Any help irrigators can secure to offset or lessen the soaring input costs is worth applying for.”
Rebates are available to irrigation customers supplied by Sunwater and available in relation to irrigation water charges for the three-year period 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24.
For more information and to apply, visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au