Irrigators in Clare Valley (SA) have formed an agreement with SA Water and the Clare Region Winegrape Growers Association to use SA Water infrastructure to transfer their water to vineyards in the region.

Water and the River Murray Minister, Ian Hunter, said the Clare Peak Water Transportation Scheme involves a transportation charge of $2.13/kL to the 54 irrigators who have signed up.

“We believe this end result will deliver price relief to the irrigators while not impacting other South Australian water customers,” Mr Hunter said.

“Discussions between SA Water and the association have been ongoing since 2013 in order to come to a solution which provides ongoing water security and efficiency.”

Mr Hunter said that investigating water requirement relief for Clare Valley grape growers was part of the Member for Frome Geoff Brock’s agreement with SA Premier Jay Weatherill.

“The Clare Valley is extremely important to the state’s tourism industry and economy, and its wineries play an integral part in this,” Mr Hunter said.

“I’m glad the irrigators are getting the support they need to continue operating sustainable businesses and compete with other wine grape-growing regions in South Australia.”

At this stage, the agreement is for a three year trial, which began on 1 December, 2015.

“This will enable SA Water to assess the volume of water being transported, overall impact on the drinking water network and satisfaction of the irrigators,” Mr Hunter said.

“We are confident however the agreement will be extended beyond this timeframe.”

Clare Region Winegrape Growers Association President, Troy van Dulken, said the summer transportation scheme was the result of several years of negotiation to find a mutually beneficial commercial solution for all parties.

“The grape growers association is currently working with irrigators who signed up to the scheme to arrange a bulk purchase of water,” Mr van Dulken said.

Changes passed by the Water Industry (Third Party Access) Amendment Bill in October 2015 will also help to provide greater access to water and sewerage infrastructure across the state.

“We are actively working to open up SA Water networks to companies and other third parties to transport privately-owned water,” Minister Hunter said. 

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