A NSW Government website

Water metering

Metering compliance state of play

We have inspected pumps 574 active pumps above 500mm which were required to have accurate meters installed and validated by a certified professional often referred to as a duly qualified person (DQP), and able to transmit water take to a central database by 1 December 2020.

Fifty-four per cent of those works are fully compliant with the rules and a significant number of water users who owned other works had made a reasonable effort to comply. However there is more work to be done to ensure that water taken in NSW is accurately accounted for.

This is a significant increase from the rate of full compliance we observed in July which was just 23 per cent.

It is important to note that our July reports included a total of 368 works. Our September reports include an additional 77 government owned meters and 152 previously incomplete investigations. Twenty-three works were removed from the initial reports as they were also found to be inactive or undersized.

Compliance results

Statewide metering results

Barwon, Darling and West

Metering compliance rate Barwon, Darling west September 2021

Border Rivers

Border Rivers compliance rates

Far North Coast

metering compliance rate far north coast September 2021


metering compliance rate Gwydir September 2021


metering compliance rate Lachlan September 2021

Macquarie Bogan

metering compliance rate Macquarie Bogan September 2021


metering compliance rate Murray September 2021


metering compliance rate Murrumbidgee September 2021


metering compliance rate Namoi September 2021

What happens now?

After conducting desktop assessments and completing site inspections, March through June, we issued advisory letters or legal directions to comply as well as fines. Those who had complied with the rules received letters of thanks.

More than two-thirds of active pumps without an accurate meter at the time of our last report (45% of all inspected works) now have accurate meters installed.

There are now less than 50 active pumps within this group that are still not fitted with accurate meters. The owners of these pumps have been given a directive to comply.

We are a firm but fair regulator. We understand there can be challenges on the pathway to compliance and we have taken a light touch approach when reasonable efforts had been made.

However, for those who continue to ignore the rules, our response will become progressively severe, with stop work orders, licence suspensions or prosecutions being considered.

Who is up next? Act now to get into compliance...

Water users in the northern inland region of the state are subject to the next deadline of 1 December 2021.

If you have a pump or pumps 100mm or above or bores 200mm or above in the Macquarie, Gwydir, Namoi, Border Rivers and Barwon-Darling regions, you should immediately:

  • Check your status – review the details on your licence and approvals via the NSW Water Register and use the metering guidance tool to check if this regulation applies to you. Check to see that the works on your licence and approvals match those that are on the ground. If your works are inactive, you will need to contact WaterNSW to tag your work as inactive.
  • Engage a DQP – contact a duly qualified person (DQP) in your area (you can find one at Irrigation Australia) to get the right kind of meters, have them validated, and connected to the Data Acquisition Service.
  • Contact WaterNSW – if you don’t think these rules apply to you, contact WaterNSW to either tag your work inactive or to update the work size on your approvals.

Our approach to assessing compliance

In the lead up to the 1 December 2020 deadline, we worked with water users to help them understand their compliance obligations. We also clarified how we would enforce the law and what a reasonable endeavour might look like.

Below is more information about the work we have done to help water users get into compliance.


We conducted desktop audits and found worryingly low rates of compliance with the new metering rules. We shared these results with the water community and spoke to water users over the phone to find out more about their efforts to comply.


We visited properties that housed more than 750 works to confirm the compliance picture. Again we shared the results to the water community, praising those who had done the right thing and offering advice or firm directions to those who had not.


While we continue to investigate and take action against the water users who had not made a reasonable effort to comply by the 1 December 2020 deadline, we have turned our attention to the next deadline. We want to encourage those in the northern inland region of the state who are subject to the metering framework’s next deadline of 1 December 2021 to act now.

Visit the department’s metering webpage for more information on how to comply.

Act now to get into compliance

This video encouraged water users to act now ahead of the 1 December 2020 deadline.