Cost hits Pella project: Farmers to bear $1 million pipeline bill

RAINBOW district farmers are disappointed their quest for water supply infrastructure will cost almost $1 million.

GWMWater's initial costings priced a new pipeline to service all farmers in the Pella district at $980,000, a cost which would be largely paid by landowners.

Farmer Michael Eckermann said he thought the pipeline, which would service 20 farmers, would probably not go ahead because of the prohibitive cost.

"We were disappointed they came up with such an astronomical figure," he said. "I feel that it won't go ahead because of the monetary figure.

"There are probably five farmers who will retire in the next few years and that would eat into their retirement savings."

Mr Eckermann said he used brackish bore water for farming which had high salinity levels.

"The bore water is 5000 parts per million salt," he said. "You can't grow a garden; sheep do survive on it but it's not ideal," he said.

He said he did not blame GWMWater but hoped an alternative could be worked out to solve the impasse.

"It's not really their fault. We'd like to see some government funding for the pipeline," he said.

GWMWater spokesman Andrew Rose said $980,000 was the cost if all properties were serviced by the pipeline, but that could be lowered depending on how many landowners chose to be involved.

He said community consultation was continuing and the project presented an exciting opportunity.

"We have a great opportunity, a once-only opportunity, and we're keen to work with the community to pull something off," Mr Rose said.

He said GWMWater had a policy of contributing up to 25 per cent to the cost of projects, which also might lower the potential costs for the pipeline, but he confirmed it would be a user-pays system.

"Like all new customers, they would have to contribute to their portion," he said.

He said the eventual cost of the pipeline would be determined after GWMWater had received confirmation from landowners whether they wanted to be involved.

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