Irrigators on the Broken Creek system northern Victoria have questioned claims by Goulburn-Murray Water that shifting them out of the Murray Valley district will result in cost savings.
GMW has proposed the change in its latest submission to the Essential Services Commission, as part of its plans to introduce uniform pricing across all of its six districts.
GMW customer and stakeholders general manager Ann Telford said uniform pricing was one of the submission's key proposals.
"Since our last pricing submission, we have had uniform pricing for five of our six irrigation districts," Ms Telford said.
She said uniform pricing would result in a drop of about $500, or 17.4 per cent, for 250 Broken Creek irrigators.
It would provide Broken Creek customers with a reduced Infrastructure Access Fee (IAF) from $2925 per delivery share to $2416.
But Murray Valley irrigator Patrick Connolly said that statement was misleading.
"It implies that, through uniform pricing, fees for Broken Creek will be reduced," Mr Connolly said.
"This reduction will occur if Broken Creek remains a Murray Valley customer, under the 5:1 model."
Shepparton still had 12pc higher costs than the median average of the other five districts.
Mr Connolly said service point fees had doubled in the Murray Valley region, and district irrigators using Dethridge wheels would see their costs increase from $250 to $450.
"GMW has submitted it, without hardly any consultation whatsoever, it's basically a done deal," he said.
GMW has confirmed there are 378 Dethridge wheels still in operation in the Murray Valley district and none on Broken Creek.
"Shepparton had an IAF of almost $4800 per delivery share in 2014 and has spent less than $20 million since and now will see their IAF almost halve," Mr Connolly said.
"An independent review found Shepparton had a higher cost of operations in 2016 and now has much lower costs, can this be explained in more detail?
"One problem is that uniform pricing delivers the same price for each service but does not deliver the same service for the price."
Kaarimba dairy farmer Mark Bryant said Broken Creek irrigators were being shifted to Shepparton, to make that district look better.
"On the creek, we pay for our own pumps, none of the infrastructure is supplied by GMW, it's all supplied by us," Mr Bryant said.
He said if Broken Creek irrigators were not shifted across, Shepparton would face an increase of 32pc.
"When they go to the ESC, that is too big of a difference," he said.
"It brings Shepparton to a point where it's only 11-12pc above everyone else, that's what they have told the ESC."
Chris Bourke, Nathalia, said GMW met with some irrigators but took absolutely no notice of what they had to say.
"They sell us the water at the same price as they do to the gravity irrigators, but our level of service is not as good," Mr Bourke said.
"We have to order water four days in advance, in Shepparton they can do it in 24 hours."
He said single pricing would significantly bring prices down for Shepparton.
"It won't just be Broken Creek people subsidising Shepparton," he said.
"It will be all irrigators in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District."