Department of Planning and Environment—Water is Australia's largest water monitoring agency. Over 5,000 monitoring stations measure the quality and quantity of water in rivers, streams, groundwater and dams across New South Wales. About 900 of these stations continuously monitor water sources delivering real-time data through digital electronic technology.

You can view real-time data from the department and other NSW agencies on the Real-time data website and the WaterInsights dashboard.

Real-time data reporting

We provide real-time reports on:

  • river levels and flows
  • storage elevations, volumes and discharges
  • salinity, temperature and turbidity
  • bore water levels.

The range of data available varies from site to site.

This data is used to:

  • determine water availability, water allocations and water releases
  • develop water sharing plans
  • evaluate the performance of water sharing plans
  • predict flood levels to protect people and property
  • gauge the health of rivers and floodplains
  • improve our understanding of climate change management
  • manage surface and groundwater resources throughout the state.

Real-time data from the department is relied upon by other agencies including WaterNSW, the Murray Darling Basin Authority, the Bureau of Meteorology, State Emergency Services and the Border Rivers Commission. The information is a critical component of the state's flood warning systems.

Open data framework timeline

We are committed to providing open access to relevant data, information products and data models to the community, the water sector and industry. This will improve the transparency of data in the water sector.

A timetable is available that sets out the activities we will take to increase transparency and open access to data by giving access to data and models that are relevant for strategic planning.

Download the timetable

Water data review update

DPE Water has taken steps to progress the recommendations of the Chief Scientist & Engineer Water Sector review. The review advised on the adequacy of water-related data collections, infrastructure and capabilities to meet current and future requirements and manage associated risks.

Download the update to NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer water data review recommendations (PDF, 68.06 KB)

Post flood ICT debrief and improvements to real-time water data support

We experienced some degraded data and systems services during the rain event on the weekend of 20 and 21 March 2021. A post incident debrief brought together the lead water agencies to identify recommendations for improvement for future events.

The cause of the outage was identified as an increase in demand for system access and data that put a significant strain on some WaterNSW IT systems that were located within the NSW Department of Planning and Environment ICT environment, coupled with some network connection issues.

It was found that the IT Systems held up to the event and that staff performed well in a challenging situation but areas of improvement were identified. The Post Flood ICT report makes specific recommendations that are now being implemented by the department.

Download report

Strategic Plan

The NSW Strategic Water Information Monitoring Plan PDF, 1615.72 KB is a requirement under the $80 million Modernisation and Extension of Hydrologic Monitoring Systems Program administered by the Bureau of Meteorology. The plan lists all the water information needs in the state and outlines the current data inventory and monitoring programs used to report on and manage water in New South Wales. The plan also reports gaps in data and systems relative to the data delivery requirements of the bureau.

Read the detailed report on Water inventory and observation networks in New South Wales PDF, 2768.59 KB, as outlined in the plan.