NSW non-urban water metering framework

The NSW Government has released a robust new metering framework for non-urban water meters in NSW, which commenced on 1 December 2018.

The new framework will improve the standard and coverage of non-urban water meters in NSW. The government committed to this framework under the Water Reform Action Plan.

The framework will be implemented through a staged roll-out over five years. The framework will be reviewed after five years to assess its performance against the objectives.

Policy, regulation and Act

The new metering framework includes:

The policy explains the requirements of the new framework. The Act and regulation give legal effect to the new framework.

When do the changes take effect?

The policy and the majority of the new metering-related provisions of the Act and regulation commence on 1 December 2018.

The requirements for new and replacement meters, and faulty meters commence on 1 April 2019.

The remainder of the framework will be implemented in a staged manner. The first stage commences on 1 December 2019 for large surface water pumps. This will be followed by a regional roll-out for all remaining works from 1 December 2020 until 1 December 2023.

What we heard

The new non-urban water metering framework has been informed by broad community consultation, economic analysis and technical expertise. Two phases of public consultation, along with a technical workshop and other targeted consultation were carried out to ensure the community and stakeholders had an opportunity to comment on and contribute to the framework.

The NSW Water Metering Consultation – What we heard report provides a summary of what we heard during the August and September 2018 community consultation and how we responded to the feedback received from stakeholders and the community.

Download the powerpoint presentation explaining how the feedback we heard has been incorporated into the new framework.

View and download the consultation submissions

Fact sheets

  • Overview of new requirements – this fact sheet provides a general overview of the new metering requirements
  • Preparing for the roll-out dates – this fact sheet provides guidance for water users with existing meters
  • Industry guide - works requiring a meter – this guide provides an estimate on the number of meters, and meter sizes, that will need to be installed under the new framework
  • Frequently Asked Questions – provides answers to commonly asked questions from water users about the new non-urban water metering framework
  • Glossary of terms – this list provides simple definitions to terms used when talking about the non-urban water metering framework, regulation and policy
  • Financial assistance – provides information about loans, subsidies and other assistance that are available to water users which may help reduce the financial burden of installing required metering equipment, especially under current drought conditions

Duly qualified persons

Water users will be required to use a duly qualified person to carry out certain work in relation to metering equipment, including meter installation, maintenance, validation and checking the accuracy of an existing meter.

A duly qualified person is a person with the qualifications, skills or expertise specified in clause 236 of the regulation. A summary of the qualifications, skill or experience required by duly qualified persons is in Attachment E of the policy.


Maintenance specifications

All meters (except for meters on works that do not meet the metering thresholds) need to be maintained in accordance with the Maintenance Specifications 2018. These specifications set out the maintenance that needs to be carried out, the frequency of maintenance and whether the maintenance needs to be carried out by a duly qualified person or if it can be carried out by the holder of the approval or licence.

Data and telemetry specifications

Data loggers and telemetry will need to comply with the data logging and telemetry specifications approved by the Minister. These specifications will set out the requirements for data collection, recording and storing as well as the requirements for data transmission. These specifications are being developed and will be published by 1 April 2019.

The government will shortly seek expressions of interest as part of a competitive and transparent tender process to develop a fit for purpose data acquisition service for telemetry.

Metering tool

A metering tool to help water users work out whether they need a meter and what meter standards apply will be available here soon.


Natural Resources Access Regulator

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) is responsible for compliance and enforcement of water laws in NSW. The Metering regulations - NRAR compliance approach outlines the new metering requirements.

Basin compliance compact

The NSW Government is committed to metering actions under the Murray–Darling Basin Compliance Compact. Further information on how the new framework meets these commitments will be available here soon.

The MDBA has published a first list of ‘pattern approved and seeking approval non-urban water meters’.

Farm Innovation Fund

The Farm Innovation Fund is an incentive-based initiative to help NSW farmers. The fund provides loans to meet the cost of carrying out permanent capital works, including metering infrastructure, that will benefit the land and the long-term profitability of the business. Visit the Farm Innovation Fund website for more information.

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