Program focus areas

Gum trees by the banks of the Nimmie-Caira.

The Program has 5 high-level areas that it is focusing on. The focus areas for the program are:

Improve the regulatory and support framework

We are partnering with the sector to develop and implement an improved regulatory framework for local water utility strategic planning, technical assessment and approvals, and performance monitoring. We also commit to improving our approach as a regulator.

We have surveyed the sector on their perceptions of the department as a regulator of local water utilities. Thanks for those who participated. Download the results (PDF, 324.14 KB).

In June 2021, the Program team engaged with over 260 stakeholders from across the local water utility sector in virtual and regional workshops. We discussed the problems stakeholders saw with the department’s regulatory framework and approach and collaborated on potential solutions and a possible path forward. Download the summary of engagement (PDF, 446.5 KB).

A draft roadmap was developed to reflect the outcomes of our engagement with the local water utility sector and our commitment to continue to work in partnership with the sector to improve the department’s regulatory framework.

Download the draft Roadmap (PDF, 371.39 KB).

We have closed feedback on the draft roadmap and will release the final Roadmap shortly.

Working group to improve the regulatory framework

We are forming working groups to improve the regulatory framework for local water utilities. Expressions of interest (EOI) were sought from members of the local water utility sector to join the voluntary working groups and collaborate with the department to design improvements to our regulatory approach to strategic planning and technical assessment and approvals.

We have two working groups focussing on areas of:

  • Working group 1 – Strategic planning
  • Working group 2 – Technical assessment and approvals.

EOIs have now closed.

Encourage greater collaboration

Connect utilities facing similar issues so they can share insights and learnings and facilitate knowledge capture across the sector

Facilitate greater state government support

We will explore how the capabilities and scale of State-Owned Corporations (SOCs) and the department could be better leveraged to address risks and challenges local water utilities face.

Review of skills shortages

We will partner with key stakeholders and co-regulators to design and conduct a review to identify any critical skills shortages in the sector, and develop options to address these.

Investigate alternative funding models

We will work with the sector to explore the pros and cons of alternative funding models, including a needs-based Community Service Obligation (CSO) funding model.