Find the information you need to make sure you are compliant with the non-urban metering reform.
The Department of Planning and Environment - Water (DPE - Water) is currently reviewing the non-urban metering framework to ensure water use is being measured and managed fairly. Visit the DPE - Water website for further information.
Measuring water usage not only ensures fairness for all water users it also enables a better understanding of your water needs and can support water planning.
To better manage this, the NSW Government introduced the NSW non-urban water metering framework in December 2018 - to be rolled out over six years.
1. Check your licence and approval details on the NSW Water Register
2. Use the NSW Government's online metering guidance tool
3. If the rules apply to you, contact a duly qualified person (DQP)
1 April 2019: New and replacement meters, faulty meters and inactive works
From 1 April 2019 water users need to comply with the requirement for new and replacement meters, faulty meters and inactive works under the NSW Government's new metering rules.
1 December 2020: Surface water pumps 500mm and above
By 1 December 2020 water users across NSW with surface water pumps 500mm and above, need to have their metering equipment installed and certified by a DQP.
1 December 2021: Northern inland regions
By 1 December 2021, all works in the northern inland regions need to have their metering equipment installed and certified by a DQP.
The following groundwater sources are included in this regional rollout date:
Read more about at-risk groundwater sources here.
1 June 2023: Southern inland regions
A step-by-step guide to finding out which rules affect you
A summary of non-urban water metering (PDF, 130kb) from the Department of Planning and Environment - Water (DPE-Water). You can also find a summary of the non-urban metering reform and what it means to you here.
View the list of exemptions to the metering rules below.
For more information regarding exemptions please visit the DPE-Water website.
Under the new metering rules you’ll need to be fitted with a pattern approved meter by your rollout date.
See this list of pattern-approved non-urban water meters (PDF) by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
If your existing meter was installed before 1 April 2019, it may be possible to keep it. Read more from DPE-Water about how to keep your existing meter.
Telemetry is the most efficient way of reporting water usage.
A local intelligence device (LID) uses telemetry to automatically transmit usage data from your meter to DPE-Water, NRAR and WaterNSW.
If you install telemetry on your LID, your annual telemetry service charge of $254.80* will be automatically credited on your WaterNSW bill each year until you reach the total rebate amount of $975 - just over four years. The rebate is not available to water users with a government-owned meter.
*This is the annual telemetry service charge between 1 July 2023 and 30 June 2024, and is subject to change thereafter.
Read more about telemetry here.
Surface water works (with the exception of pumps below 100mm that are not part of the multiple pump threshold), need to be fitted with a compatible LID under the new metering rules.
Contact a DQP to discuss your LID needs.
WaterNSW collects and stores the data we receive from compatible LIDs in a secure cloud-based, data acquisition service (DAS).
Your data will be used by NRAR, DPE-Water and WaterNSW to help with billing, compliance and other water management activities.
Read more information in the DAS user guide (PDF).
Duly qualified person (DQP)
DQPs, also known as certified meter installers (CMIs) are trained to install metering equipment and ensure it’s working properly.
They can also give you advice about the best metering equipment to use and help you comply with the new metering rules.
You must use a DQP to install and validate your metering equipment.
DQPs will use our DQP portal to complete and submit the forms and certificates required to show that your metering equipment is compliant with the new rules. DQPs can access the portal here.
Recording and reporting
After each rollout date, all water users, even those who have installed a meter, may have ongoing recording and reporting requirements that are required under clauses 244, 244A and 250 of the Water Management (General) Regulation 2018.
To understand your ongoing recording and reporting requirements, please use our online interactive recording and reporting tool. Our easy-to-use tool will ask you three simple questions to determine what your ongoing recording and reporting requirements are.
Meters and ordering water
All regulated river licence holders need to place a water order before pumping water. Any water take (determined by your meter reading), will need to be linked to a water order.
As part of the non-urban metering framework, WaterNSW will continue to manage the compliance and ongoing maintenance of existing government-owned meters.
We are committed to making sure these meters are compliant under the NSW non-urban water metering framework.
If you are currently using a government-owned meter, we’ll be in touch before your rollout date. However if you have any questions regarding your government-owned meter, please contact us on 1300 662 077 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you no longer want WaterNSW to provide and manage your government-owned meter, please complete this online opt-out form and we will contact you to discuss the next steps
Please note if you opt-out of the government-owned meter program you will be responsible for your metering equipment and ongoing compliance obligations, this includes engaging your own DQP.
You can find more information using our:
How to make a work inactive
If you’re not using your work, you can make it inactive and be exempt from the new metering rules. Once it’s inactive, you won’t be able to use it to take any water (including basic landholder rights).
Unregulated and groundwater customers will be billed on a one-part tariff once the work is made inactive.
Note: A work that has not been constructed does not need to be made inactive.
To make a work active again, you’ll need to provide evidence that your work is compliant with the non-urban metering rules.
Read more about inactive and active works here.
Change the size of a pump or bore
It is your responsibility to check whether the size and type of work installed on your property is the same as what is listed on your approval. You can view your approval details by visiting the NSW Water Register.
Notify us if you have a smaller work
Some water users may have works installed which are smaller than what is listed on their approval. Under recent amendments to the metering regulations water users can now notify us of the actual size of their work if it is smaller than what is listed on their approval. This means that you will be required to comply with the installed size, not the size listed on your approval.
Please note: By notifying us that you have a smaller work installed than what is listed on your approval, this does not amend your approval. Therefore, the fee associated with amending a work approval does not apply.
What if your work is larger than what is listed on your approval?
If your work is larger than what is listed on your approval, you are in breach of your approval conditions and may be subject to NRAR compliance checks.
You can apply to amend your approval to increase the authorised work size here. However please note, this is subject to the regular assessment process.
For more information, please visit DPE – Water’s website.
Follow these three steps if your metering equipment isn’t working properly:
1. Report the faulty meter to us within 24 hours of noticing it isn't working properly.
2. Repair or replace the meter within 21 days and have it certified by a DQP.
If you can’t repair or replace the meter within 21 days of reporting it, you can apply for an extension.
3. Submit a completion form within 28 days of repairing or replacing your equipment including:
Submit a completion form.
Read more about faulty meters here.
WaterNSW is responsible for implementing the laws and policies, as well as issuing, and amending licences and approvals for the majority of water users and billing water use/metering charges for all customers.
Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) is NSW’s independent water regulator. Its purpose is to ensure compliance with, and enforcement of the state’s water laws.
WaterNSW manages access to water and ensures water is accessed equitably. Learn more about the non-urban metering framework and requirements for an approval or licence holder to access water.
Understand NRAR's approach to enforcing the new metering rules here.
WaterNSW acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we work and pay our respects to all elders past, present and emerging. Learn more