A POSTAGE stamp costs the same no matter where you live.
So why doesn't water?
Tamworth region residents pay for some of the most expensive water in the state, TRC water and waste director Bruce Logan said, and a proposed WaterNSW and Water Administration Ministerial Corporation (WAMC) price hike means council would pay more than $830,000 per year for bulk raw water.
That's $300,000 more than it would pay if it sourced water from the Namoi, and more than 6.8 times what the same water would cost from the Murrumbidgee, a report to the council states.
Fed up with higher prices for bulk water, Mr Logan said the council plans to make a submission to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to ask for uniform prices, or the same deal Gunnedah gets.
"The Peel used to be the same as the other areas and in 2017 IPART proposed a change, the council objected," he said.
"Despite that objection IPART did recommend the change, that has been made now IPART is asking whether we are still happy with 80/20 and our position is no we are not happy with that.
"We think raw water is an essential service and just like the amount it costs you to service a car or post a letter, we think water should be postage stamp pricing - so no matter where you are you pay the same prices."
The council pays a fixed charge of $700,000 a year whether it uses any water from Chaffey Dam or not, and a usage charge in dry times on top of that.
The ratio of fixed charges to usage for the Peel is 80/20, where for the Gwydir, Namoi, Lachlan, Macquarie and Murray valleys it's 40/60.
The council's submission slams the WAMC for "not at all" performing well in water management functions.
The charges would increase by five per cent each year from July 1, 2021, a WaterNSW spokesman said.
He said the changes reflect the costs of administering the water license regime and new technology to be able to provide customers with more timely information.
"Costs charged to users in the Peel Valley are primarily for the operation of Chaffey Dam which is relatively small," he said.
"The increase in fixed charges paid was supported by Peel Valley irrigators during the 2016 IPART review to reduce the usage charge for general security customers."
A public hearing will be held on November 17.