Metering roadshow - what we heard
In July and August 2019, the Department of Planning Industry and Environment – together with the Natural Resources Access Regulator and WaterNSW – held a ‘metering roadshow’ which stopped at 15 locations across regional NSW, as well as an online public webinar.
The purpose of the metering roadshow was three-fold:
- To ensure stakeholders understand the new metering rules
- To give stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on implementation issues
- To seek feedback on a small number of proposed changes to the Water Management (General) Regulation 2018, which were placed on public exhibition from 15 July to 19 August 2019.
The Department engaged with more than 560 stakeholders and they provided us with valuable feedback at the roadshow sessions and through 81 written submissions.
The Metering Roadshow – What We Heard report summarises this feedback and sets out the immediate steps the Government is taking to respond.
In particular, we heard that water users support the new rules but the severe drought conditions will make it impossible for most of them to meet their new obligations by the current deadline.
Up to 97 per cent of current water users impacted by new metering rules will have no water allocation, or water flows will not be high enough, to test their meters and confirm they are operating properly – a key requirement under the new rules.
In recognition of this, the NSW Government will adjust the first three start dates for the new metering rules. We will still achieve a full rollout of the rules by 1 December 2023. The adjusted start dates will be:
- 1 December 2020 – surface water pumps 500mm and above - All regions
- 1 December 2021 – remaining works that require a meter - Northern Inland regions
- 1 December 2022 – remaining works that require a meter - Southern Inland regions
- 1 December 2023 – remaining works that require a meter – Coastal regions
Until the new rollout dates come into effect, water users are expected to comply with their existing metering and recording requirements. The Natural Resources Access Regulator will be on the ground ensuring waters users are obeying the law.
The NSW Government also heard that there are different views on the transition of state-owned meters to private ownership. The NSW Government remains committed to transferring meters to private ownership and will consult with affected water users on the design of the transfer scheme.
The government is carefully considering all of the other feedback it heard from the metering roadshow and will provide its response soon.