Water

A safe, secure and sustainable water supply is essential to maintaining the health, prosperity and wellbeing of Greater Sydney’s growing population.

The Water division manages all surface and groundwater in the state, develops and implements plans for water security for NSW, and manages regional and metropolitan water supply and usage.

We lead the development of strategic water policy and planning for Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra), and for the equitable sharing of water resources through secure and tradeable water entitlements and allocations.

We manage water resources for the state through planning, policy and regulation, and lead government negotiations with the Commonwealth, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and other jurisdictions.

We drive delivery of the Metropolitan Water Plan and the Water Reform Action Plan to:

  • meet the needs of a growing population and a growing economy
  • support jobs, economic growth, the environment, and our health and wellbeing
  • support the water rebate scheme and maintain statewide water regulation and licensing, including to facilitate competition in water and wastewater servicing
  • improve water efficiency and support communities to adjust to a changing climate
  • plan metropolitan and rural infrastructure that secures water supply and increases drought resilience across the state
  • support the wellbeing of rural and regional communities who enjoy the recreational benefits our regional waterways provide
  • improve the health of waterways and their catchments to support our environmental, social, cultural and economic needs and values.

We aim to deliver efficient services with a focus on innovation, performance and affordability to:

  • introduce best practice for water management
  • ensure transparency in how we share, allocate and manage water
  • build a compliance and enforcement regime that ensures strong and certain regulation
  • build capability to support implementation of water reforms.

We also advise on water policy and reforms for NSW. We engage with the community, industry and other government agencies to understand the factors shaping water supply and demand, as well as our stakeholders’ values and preferences.

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The Natural Resources Access Regulator

The Natural Resources Access Regulator was established as part of the NSW Government’s reform of water management. The NRAR is an independent, transparent and effective regulator with total carriage of the compliance and enforcement of water management legislation in NSW. Since its inception water compliance activity has increased by 80 percent.

The NRAR investigates alleged non-compliance to ensure that there is appropriate evidence for the non-compliance. A graduated and proportionate approach to non-compliance is employed, based on the severity of the non-compliance (its impact on the environment and potential harm to people or property) and the regulated entity’s culpability, cooperation and approach to the non-compliance.

We have a team of investigators and compliance officers across the state to actively patrol the use of surface and ground water and respond to alerts of possible water theft or misuse.

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Manly Hydraulics Laboratory

Manly Hydraulics Laboratory is a fee-for-service business unit within the Water division that provides specialist and impartial advice relating to water flow assurance, modelling and monitoring in water, sewer, stormwater, irrigation, coastal and environmental areas.

MHL is also the NSW Government’s specialist and impartial advisor in water modelling and monitoring. It obtains and provides access to continuous quality-controlled data throughout the state with physical and numerical modelling that allows government and interested parties to make effective evidence-based and informed decisions regarding our natural and man-made water, coastal and floodplain assets.

MHL hosts the NSW Modelling and Monitoring Hub to leverage existing modelling and monitoring knowledge and facilitate knowledge-sharing between government agencies and state-owned corporations.

MHL is also a key member of the NSW Engineering Emergency Management team, providing specialist knowledge and live data to help lead emergency response agencies during floods, coastal storms and other emergencies.

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