A NSW Government website

How to comply

Water metering

The new metering rules

The new non-urban water metering rules are being rolled out in stages by the NSW Government to better measure water take in the state, make water use fairer, and build community 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 rollout of the new metering rules includes four different stages and compliance dates, which are based on the size of works and the regions shown in the map to the right.

We monitor compliance with the metering rules for each of the four groups following 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?

The new rules apply to water supply works, such as pumps, that can be fitted with a meter and are licensed to take water from rivers and groundwater systems.

The rules are being rolled out in stages to allow people time to comply. However, if you decide to 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

As a risk-based regulator, we focus our resources on key areas to ensure our education and enforcement efforts have a high impact and reduce the most potential 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 in the lead up to their compliance deadlines
  • monitoring and enforcing compliance amongst groups whose deadline has passed.

Find out more about our focus areas and approach to monitoring and enforcing compliance with the 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?

A failure to comply with the metering rules may be a criminal offence. However, we understand that some may miss the metering deadlines due to unforeseen circumstances.

We expect all water users to make a reasonable effort to comply before their deadline.

We are a firm but fair regulator and will consider each case on its own merit. We recognise a handful of alternative pathways to compliance, including:

  • Inactive works – water users who no longer use their pumps, but might want to in the future, need to apply to make their pump inactive on the WaterNSW website
  • Keeping an existing meter – a manufacturer certificate is required to keep an existing meter that was installed before 1 April 2019 but isn’t pattern approved. Alternatively, a meter installer can field test and verify its accuracy. In both cases, a meter installer is required to validate the installation and fit the meter with an intelligence device.
  • Faulty meters – if a meter or intelligence device doesn’t work after it’s installed, water users need to report this to WaterNSW using this online S91i form
  • Connectivity issues – if a meter installer can demonstrate that they can’t set up a local intelligence device, water users can apply for an exemption by notifying the department using the correct form. The department’s telemetry coverage tool may help you check if you are eligible for an exemption.

What counts as a reasonable effort to comply?

Whether there have been reasonable efforts to comply will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Water users should hold onto their records and be prepared to show NRAR the steps they’ve taken to comply, including taking regular action to ensure timely progression to compliance.

For those who cannot demonstrate that reasonable efforts to comply have been made, our response will become progressively severe, with stop work orders, licence suspensions or prosecutions being considered.

Who can help me comply?

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

If you have questions about: