Seqwater and Sunwater irrigation pricing

The Queensland Government sets the price of irrigation water supplied by Seqwater in South-East Queensland and Sunwater elsewhere in Queensland.

In setting irrigation prices, the government seeks to strike a balance between:

  • cost recovery for the services provided
  • impacts on customers
  • keeping prices as simple and transparent as possible.

This content provides information on current irrigation prices and explains how prices are set.

Irrigation prices for 2021–22 to 2023–24

Irrigation prices for water supply schemes owned by Sunwater and Seqwater will have the following discounts applied for the 3-year period from 2021–22 to 2023–24:

  • a 50% cut for irrigation of horticulture crops
  • a 15% cut for all other irrigation.

This cut will be funded from $81.6 million allocated in the 2020–21 Queensland Budget for reducing the cost of irrigation water supplied by Sunwater and Seqwater.

Irrigators will automatically receive the 15% discount through the prices used by Sunwater and Seqwater to calculate your bills.

Horticultural growers will be able to apply to receive the balance of their 50% discount through a 35% rebate on charges associated with irrigating horticultural crops. The Horticulture Irrigation Pricing Rebate Scheme is being administered and assessed by the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA).

You can apply for the Horticulture Irrigation Pricing Rebate Scheme until 31 December 2024.

Learn more about the irrigation pricing discount for 2021–24.

Irrigation prices for 2021–22

View details of the prices for 2021–22 in the Queensland Government Gazette that was published on 4 June 2021.

These prices include the 15% discount.

Sunwater customers

View Sunwater's full schedule of fees and charges for each water scheme.

Seqwater customers

View Seqwater's full schedule of fees and charges for each water scheme (PDF, 453KB).

How irrigation prices are set

Prices are set following a review process involving the state's independent regulator, the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA). Reviews generally cover a 4–5 year period.

For its reviews, the QCA undertakes comprehensive analysis and consults widely to provide advice on key issues and the amount of prudent (i.e. necessary) and efficient costs to be recovered in prices.

The QCA then recommends prices to the government, which makes the final decision on prices. The recommendations must be consistent with pricing policies specified by the government.

Read details of the QCAs most recent recommendations for Seqwater and Sunwater irrigation prices for 2020–21 to 2023–24. This review was finalised in January 2020.

The response to each of the QCAs recommendations can be found in the Queensland Government Gazette from 5 May 2020.

Pricing policies

The government's key policy is generally for prices to move towards recovering the irrigation share of the scheme's operating, maintenance and refurbishment costs, but not any share of the initial costs of building any assets constructed before 2000.

In May 2020, the government announced it would absorb irrigators' share of dam safety upgrade costs rather than seek to recover them through irrigation prices. The government will continue to subsidise these costs rather than ask irrigators to contribute towards them.

For 2020–21 the approach to maintain prices at no more than 2019–20 levels was consistent with the temporary relief measures being provided to other Queensland businesses impacted by COVID-19 at this time.

The government provides a subsidy known as a community service obligation (CSO) payment to Seqwater and Sunwater from the Queensland budget when prices are set below the level necessary for Seqwater and Sunwater to meet the operating, maintenance and refurbishment costs to supply water for irrigation.

Read about CSOs in the 2020–21 Budget Paper 2 – Budget strategy and outlook, Appendix A – Concessions statement (PDF, 255KB).

Your water bill

Your water bill from Seqwater or Sunwater for irrigation water includes 2 types of prices:

  • fixed prices – Part A and Part C (if applicable) based on the amount of allocation you hold
  • volumetric prices – Part B and Part D (if applicable) based on the amount of water you use.

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