Media Release


NSW water users gauge obstacles to metering reform

Barriers to effective metering that are making it next to impossible for water users to comply with new regulations, must be addressed in the State Government’s review of its metering reforms.

The NSW Irrigators’ Council (NSWIC) has submitted a comprehensive response to the Non-Urban Metering Review highlighting how Departmental inaction and inconsistencies could prevent water users from effective metering despite their best efforts and considerable personal expense.

NSWIC CEO Claire Miller said the Addressing Metering Compliance Barriers report details the ongoing hurdles to compliance beyond the control of water users themselves.

“These barriers are beyond our control and we look forward to the Government coming to the table with solutions,” Ms Miller said.

“We are always aiming for 100 per cent compliance but we should not be penalised for things that are outside of our control when the Department has not done the work to ensure its targets are actually achievable.

“The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR), which polices water use, acknowledges these barriers to compliance. Its quarterly reports also show almost every water user in NSW is operating under the rules.

“Inconsistent policy tools, cost burden for low volume water users, a lack of duly qualified persons (DQPs), and impractical telemetry and floodplain harvesting requirements are just a few.

“Despite these barriers being outside of their control, water users continue to go to great lengths and considerable cost to comply, and where they cannot, to demonstrate they have made every effort.

“NSW’s metering standards for agricultural water users are globally recognised as the gold-standard. But as NSW’s Non-Urban Water Metering Reform enters its fourth and final tranche of compliance, the barriers to compliance outside of farmers’ control are causing increasing concern among water users.”

Ms Miller said while the Government appears to be approaching the issue in good faith, farmers are understandably nervous after being burned on water policy before.

“The NSW Government has a chance here to show it does support farmers and agriculture and will not be pressured into arbitrary metering rules that will have absolutely no bearing on water usage or compliance.”

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