Roadmap to an improved regulatory framework for local water utilities

Culburra STP1. Image courtesy of Shoalhaven city council.

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).

Our roadmap to an improved regulatory framework for local water utilities 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 improve the department's regulatory framework.

Improved regulatory settings and approaches are crucial so that local water utilities and their NSW Government regulators can identify and manage risks effectively and efficiently. The regulatory framework should promote and enable utilities to address risks and strategic challenges effectively and efficiently based on locally developed plans and management systems.

The roadmap focuses on improvements to the regulatory framework for local water utilities. However, recognising that the regulatory framework is just one element of a new partnership approach between local water utilities and the NSW Government, where relevant, the roadmap also identifies opportunities for improvements to the department’s related advisory and support role and the coordination of strategic planning across all levels of government.

The roadmap:

  • articulates agreed sector objectives and the department’s regulatory objectives, functions and principles
  • contains actions to design in detail an improved regulatory framework and approach that is more outcomes-focused, risk-based, proportionate, transparent and accountable, particularly on the department regulation of utility strategic planning, its technical assessments and approvals, the regulation of incident and emergency management and the monitoring or performance.
  • sets out how we will continue to collaborate with the sector on regulatory options and improvements, including through working groups that bring together the diverse experience and knowledge of the sector.
Figure: Our roadmap collaboration approach and timeline
Figure: Roadmap to an improved regulatory framework

This roadmap to an improved regulatory framework for local water utilities was developed in partnership with the local water utility sector and sets out the actions the department will undertake to improve the regulatory framework for local water utilities.

Download the Roadmap to an improved regulatory framework for local water utilities (PDF, 350.78 KB)