The NSW Government has been developing a new metering policy to ensure that water take is accurately metered in response to the recent inquiries and as per the reform action plan. This includes determining who needs to have meters and the standard those meters need to meet.
Aither has been advising the government on these issues, including policy options to strike an appropriate balance between the costs and coverage of water meters. This has involved applying data analytics to understand the current baseline of water metering across NSW and integrated economic and engineering modelling to estimate the implications of different policy options.
After extensive community consultation, the policy was released yesterday by the Minister for Regional Water, Niall Blair (see quote). The new metering policy is an important step towards restoring confidence to water users and the broader community.
I can announce the detailed metering requirements on which we will seek further community views later this year. We propose metering for all licensed users with pumps, pipes, or offtakes of 100 millimetres or larger for surface water or bores of 200 millimetres or larger for groundwater. To ensure that the coverage of meters improves and does not decrease, anyone who holds a licence that currently requires a meter will be required to keep and maintain that meter. This will capture approximately 95 per of the existing infrastructure capacity to take licensed water in New South Wales but will avoid undue cost burdens on the smallest users.