Tamworth Regional Council has increased the cost of water by more than 30 per cent at the Lockheed Street filling station, as they look to recoup the cost of the new automated pump.
On Wednesday, prices rose from $1.89 a kilolitre to $2.50, as advertised by council, after it replaced the antiquated top filling station in May.
That station could only service nine water carters, who had to pay a bond and ongoing fee to access the water.
The new technology, which opened the pump up to anyone with a credit or debit card, streamlined the payment system.
“Council had to consider the fact that customers no longer had to pay bond or rent and needed to recover the cost of the new machine, which was $40,000,” council’s director of water Bruce Logan said.
However, the new charges have not been well received by some carters and customers, such as Water On The Run’s Geoff Silvey, who has accused council of not advertising the price rise – something refuted by Mr Logan.
“We made contact with all current customers and water carters to advise them, it was also in the budget papers and on public display,” Mr Logan said.
“It was meant to come in on July 1, although it took us a few more days to implement it.”
Another water carter, who did not wish to be named said that he was unaware of the price rise, saying he was charged one rate on Wednesday morning, before having to pay the new rate that afternoon.
Mr Silvey went one step further, saying council is talking about helping the farmers, but then charging them more money for water at the same time.
“We need to put that into perspective, a 10,000 litre tank of water has gone from $19 to $25, it is not a significant contribution and we need to look at replacing the station in ten or fifteen years,” Mr Logan said.
“There has also been some issues with queuing and wait times at the station, so we are also considering getting a second station and having commercial users on one and private users on another.”