A NSW Government website

How to comply

Water metering

The new metering rules

The NSW Government is rolling out new water metering rules in stages. These rules help measure water usage, promote fairness, and build confidence in water management.

For more information about your compliance date, visit the department's website.

Map of NSW highlighting the three different metering region compliance deadlines for the Northern Inland, Southern Inland and Coastal.

Rollout stages

The government is introducing the new metering rules in four stages. Each stage has a compliance deadline. These are based on the size of the works and the regions shown in the map to the right.

We check if each of the four groups has followed the metering rules after their deadline.

  • 2020 group – 1 Dec 2020 deadline
    Includes pumps across NSW 500mm and above
  • 2021 group - Northern inland - 1 Dec 2021 deadline
    Includes pumps 100mm and above and bores 200mm and above
  • 2023 group - Southern inland – 1 June 2023 deadline
    Includes pumps 100mm and above and bores 200mm and above
  • 2024 group - Coastal - 1 Dec 2024 deadline
    Includes pumps 100mm and above and bores 200mm and above.

Do you need to comply?

You need to comply if you have:

- water supply works such as a pump, bore, well, or spear point, that
- can be fitted with a meter, and
- is licenced to take water from rivers and groundwater.

The rules are being rolled out in stages to allow people time to comply. However, if you install a new meter before your rollout date, that meter must comply with the new rules.

Check the rules and meter your supply

Our compliance approach

We are a risk-based regulator. We focus on critical areas to ensure our efforts have a high impact and reduce harm to our water sources. For the rollout of the metering rules, our areas of focus are:

  • ensuring high-volume, active works are compliant
  • educating water users about the rules and their obligations before their compliance deadlines
  • monitoring and enforcing compliance amongst groups whose deadline has passed.

Learn more about our areas of focus and how we monitor and enforce metering rules.

Download our metering fact sheet

Learn more about our compliance approach to metering

Metering regulations - NRAR compliance approach (PDF 188.5KB)

What if I can't comply?

We expect all water users to comply before their deadline.

A failure to comply with the metering rules may be a criminal offence.  We understand that some water users have faced barriers to compliance such as shipping delays and limited  availability of meter installers.

We are a firm but fair regulator. If a licence holder has faced challenges in complying by their deadline and can show evidence of their efforts to comply, we will take that into consideration.

We recognise a handful of alternative pathways to compliance, including:

  • Inactive works – People who don't use their pumps anymore but might want to later can apply to make them inactive on WaterNSW's website
  • Keeping an existing meter – to keep a meter that was installed before 1 April 2019 but isn't pattern-approved, you need a manufacturer certificate. Alternatively, a meter installer can field test and verify its accuracy. In both cases, a meter installer must validate the installation and fit the meter with a smart device.
  • Faulty meters – if your meter or smart device doesn't work after it's installed, report it to WaterNSW using the online S91i form
  • Connectivity issues – if a meter installer can't set up a local smart device, water users can apply for an exemption. They need to notify the department using the correct form. The department's telemetry coverage tool may help you check your eligibility for an exemption.

Who can help me comply?

A certified meter installer can help you get into compliance. Visit Irrigation Australia to find one today.

Review of the non-urban water metering rules

The NSW Government is reviewing the non-urban water metering rules to identify how they can be improved to make it quicker and easier for water users to comply. The public had until November 26, 2023, to give their input to the review. The department is now considering all feedback and will provide an update by the end of the year.

Find out more information here.

If you have questions about: