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Current policy reviews

Water restrictions harmonisation project

Review to explore a consistent approach to water restrictions in local councils.

Effluent oxidation at Bundarra Sewerage Treatment Plant.
Online workshops

A series of online sessions are expected to be held mid-2024 to discuss a consultation paper with local water utilities and the sector. Details and registration for these online sessions will be announced here and in the Local Water Utilities newsletter. You can subscribe to receive this newsletter.

About the project

Water restrictions are a useful demand-management approach to fostering water saving, particularly during periods of drought. The Water Restriction Harmonisation Project responds to an action in the NSW Water Strategy to investigate options for a more consistent approach to water restrictions across NSW, including the development of common principles.

The project also forms part of the ongoing review and improvement of the Regulatory and Assurance Framework for local water utilities (RAF) and its strategic planning assurance functions and supplementary guidance on strategic planning outcomes. In particular, the focus is on outcomes linked to water restrictions such as understanding water security, understanding service needs, and understanding other key risks and challenges.

There are 92 local water utilities in regional NSW and two major metropolitan water utilities (Sydney Water and Hunter Water). They provide water services to different areas with varying climates, populations, water sources and water use needs. Exploring options for consistent water restrictions in council areas can help manage and plan for water security and water supply responses during droughts and reduce risks at state, regional, and local levels.

The purpose of the Water Restriction Harmonisation Project review is to:

  • identify and develop options to improve existing guidance on strategic planning outcomes that cover water restrictions
  • encourage and enable a more consistent and harmonised approach to applying water restrictions in water utilities based on common principles.

Consultation paper

The consultation paper is being prepared and will be shared here when it is available. Feedback compiled during the consultation will be provided to the department to outline improvements that could be considered to achieve a more consistent approach to harmonised water restrictions.

Have your say

The department will seek feedback from local water utilities on the Water Restrictions Harmonisation consultation paper. Consultation will begin in mid-2024 and include a series of online interactive workshops to understand current issues and options for changes to the strategic planning guidance material.

Contact us

For more information please call us on 1300 081 047 or send us an email at regional.town.water@dpie.nsw.gov.au.