Regulatory assessments

From 1 July 2022, the Regulatory and assurance framework for local water utilities PDF, 1613.11 KB applies to local water utilities in regional NSW.

The new approach to assessment and approvals of works (under section 60 of the Local Government Act 1993 or section 292(1) of the Water Management Act 2000) is fully implemented from 1 July 2022.

Under section 60 of the Local Government Act and section 292(1)(a) of the Water Management Act, the Minister for Lands and Water has responsibility for the approval of local water utility works, including:

  • construction or extension of water treatment works by a council (section 60(b) of the Local Government Act)
  • provision of sewage from its area to be discharged, treated, or supplied to any person by a council (section 60(c) of the Local Government Act)
  • construction, maintenance, and operation of water management works and other associated works (including water treatment works and sewage works) by a water supply authority (section 292(1)(a) of the Water Management Act).

Sewage and water management works include works for producing recycled water from sewage.

The Minister for Lands and Water has delegated the responsibility for assessment and approval of applications made under section 60 of the Local Government Act and section 292(1)(a) of the Water Management Act to the department.

Our approach to assessing and approving proposed works is set out in the Regulatory and assurance framework for local water utilities PDF, 1613.11 KB, and seeks to ensure that works are fit for purpose, manage relevant risks, and provide robust and safe infrastructure for customers of council-owned local water utilities.

In addition to our regulatory role, we give technical and other advice to local water utilities proactively and whenever requested by the utility. We will always seek to clearly distinguish between our regulatory role and advisory and support role. We give advisory, technical, and other guidance without charge but it cannot be considered binding on the department’s exercise of approval functions under section 60 of the Local Government Act and section 292(1)(a) of the Water Management Act. More information about our advisory and support role for water treatment and sewerage works is available here.

Councils are responsible for approving liquid trade waste discharges to their sewerage systems under section 68 of the Local Government Act. However, section 90(1) of the Act and clause 28 of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2021 require them to obtain concurrence to council approval from the Secretary, Department of Planning and Environment. The department’s Water Utilities branch provides concurrence as nominated by the Secretary.