A WATER price hike that will see Tamworth pay almost double the next highest priced valley in the Murray-Darling Basin has local councillors ticked off.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has released its final decision on charges WaterNSW and the Water Administration Ministerial Corporation (WAMC) will levy for bulk water across the state until June 2025.
Councillor Mark Rodda said the price rise doesn't just impact residents but could be a stumbling block for investment in the city.
"I think nothing else demonstrates how relevant we are to the government of the day than decisions like this," he said.
"We have a government that should be considerate and understanding of our plight and yet we still get this result.
The water prices are recommended by IPART every four years, and the latest will see one megalitre of water from the WaterNSW owned and operated Chaffey Dam cost $242 per megalitre compared to $5 for the same drop at the council's Dungowan Dam.
Cr Phil Betts said he was gobsmacked when he saw the report come out.
"When you have 33 per cent increase for water in Tamworth, 44 per cent in Barraba, it's just unacceptable - especially when you consider the water in the Peel goes into the Namoi and then into the Darling and into the Murray system," he said.
"That water is the same water and we're paying probably the highest in the state per megalitre of water and that to me does not make sense.
"We've cut our budgets right to the bone and looked for every efficiency we can. I'm just wondering whether these government departments have done the same because a 33 per cent and 44 per cent increase is just one heck of a lot of money."
Councillor Russell Webb said the council has challenged both Labor and conservative governments to reassess the method it uses to price Tamworth's water to no avail.
"Neither side of politics has been very interested, there's no appetite for changing the methodology and there's some reasons for that," he said.
"I think we need to move on and the fact that as an organisation we will say to water users in the city that we'll wear the costs this time around and we do have the ability to do that, I think it's not a bad outcome."
The council will foot the bill this financial year and reassess whether to pass the increase onto users.
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