Overview of the non-urban water metering framework

A robust metering framework to improve the standard and coverage of non-urban water meters across NSW commenced on 1 December 2018.

Licensed water users will be required to install compliant metering equipment on works that meet the metering thresholds, by their roll-out date.

The metering framework includes:

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

Latest updates - November 2019:

  • Adjusted start dates for metering rules due to severe drought – the NSW Government has now amended the metering regulation to adjust the first three start dates for the metering rules. The Government announced in October it would adjust the start dates due to a lack of water in the severe drought conditions.

    The adjusted start dates are:
    • 1 December 2020 – surface water pumps 500 mm 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
  • Other minor changes made to metering rules - In addition to adjusting the metering start dates, some other minor changes have been made to the metering rules. The changes, which were informed by feedback received during the ‘metering roadshow’ July and August 2019 include:
    • exemption for ‘inactive' groundwater works – groundwater works that cannot physically take water may now be tagged as inactive, which means they are exempt from the metering rules
    • tamper evident seals – all seals used on metering equipment must be obtained from Irrigation Australia Limited, and seals may only be fixed or broken by a duly qualified person, an authorised officer or WaterNSW
    • recording and reporting – these requirements have been further streamlined and updated, and their start dates have been aligned with the metering start dates
    • new timeframes for duly qualified persons to provide information – duly qualified persons must provide water users with certificates of validation, design or accuracy check within 7 days of completing the work. They also need to report any observed meter tampering within 7 days.

See our 'Previous community consultation' page for more information. View the amended regulation.

  • Initial list of telemetry devices will be published soon — The government’s new telemetry system will go live by 31 March 2020. A number of telemetry devices have been tested against the functional and security requirements of the new system and the department will publish a detailed update about this process by the end of November 2019. See the telemetry page for more information.
  • Scheme for transferring government-owned meters — the Government remains committed to transitioning all government-owned meters to private ownership and will be consulting with eligible water users on the meter transition scheme. Visit Government-owned meter transition scheme for more information.
  • Update on pattern approved meters — the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has published an updated list of pattern approved non-urban water meters in November 2019. While there are still no pattern approved closed conduit meters for size ranges above 1200mm, there are meters in these size ranges that are currently undergoing testing for pattern approval, both in Australia and overseas. We will continue to monitor this situation closely.

Roll-out dates

The metering framework is being rolled out in a staged manner over five years.

Water users will need to ensure that they have compliant metering equipment by the relevant roll-out date, shown below:

Roll-out dates diagram


The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) expects water users to make arrangements well ahead of the roll-out date to bring their equipment into compliance and be able to demonstrate they have made every effort to comply with the metering rules.

NRAR has published a document setting out its compliance approach.

Metering requirements and specifications

Use our interactive metering tool to understand if the metering rules apply to your works  and what you need to do to comply with the rules.

Read more about metering requirements or telemetry.

Forms, certificates and fact sheets

Download forms, certificates and fact sheets for water users and duly qualified persons.