'Rural water' is water delivered to industries in rural and regional areas.
While rural water includes the use of water in the mining and energy industries, our role is limited to the use of water for irrigation.
Irrigation is used in water supply schemes throughout central and southern Queensland for cropping and horticulture.
We are responsible for recommending irrigation prices charged by two service providers:
- SunWater, a government-owned corporation which supplies water to irrigators in rural and regional Queensland (outside of south east Queensland)
- Seqwater, a government statutory authority which supplies water to irrigators in south east Queensland.
Our recommendations are considered by our shareholding Minister, who determines irrigation prices received by SunWater and Seqwater.
Our reviews of irrigation prices aim to promote viable irrigation in Queensland and the efficient use of our natural water resource.
There are two forms of irrigation schemes.
Bulk water supply schemes
Bulk water supply schemes supplement natural water resources by using dams and weirs to increase the yield and reliability of watercourses such as rivers and streams.
Dams and weirs can also be used to re-charge groundwater for use by irrigators.
Distribution systems use a network of pipes and/or channels to deliver water to properties which are not necessarily adjacent to a watercourse.
Distribution systems can enable a greater geographical spread of irrigation districts and can facilitate common infrastructure such as mills and processing facilities.
Irrigation prices reviewed by the QCA generally take the form of a 'two-part tariff'. This means that irrigators pay two types of prices:
Fixed tariffs are paid according to the amount of water access entitlements (WAEs) held by irrigators.
There are various forms of WAEs that give an irrigator the right to a portion of the available water within the irrigation scheme.
Irrigators that own WAEs pay fixed tariffs regardless of their actual water use.
Fixed tariffs are also know as Part A tariffs (in bulk water supply schemes) and Part C tariffs (in distribution systems).
Volumetric tariffs are charges paid per megalitre of actual water use by irrigators.
They are also known as Part B tariffs (in bulk water supply schemes) and Part D tariffs (in distribution systems).