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Customer Service Charter

What we do

The department's Water Group leads the water sector to develop a strategic approach to managing water at the state, regional and metropolitan levels. We manage the state’s surface and groundwater and develop and implement plans for water security in NSW. We share responsibility with Water NSW for granting and managing water access licences and water supply work approvals.

On behalf of the Water Group, the Water Enquiries team handles all questions and enquiries from our customers. The Water Enquiries team aims to deliver excellent customer service and respond with accurate information, in a timely manner. This approach to customer service is displayed throughout the Water Group.

Who are our customers?

  • the people of NSW
  • anyone who lives, works, or invests in NSW, including businesses
  • people who interact with us under different circumstances: because they want to, or have to, for business or personal reasons.

What you can expect

We will treat you with dignity and respect.

  • Consistent and accurate information, communicated in a clear and uncomplicated way.
  • Respect for your personal data and privacy. View our Privacy (Data) Breach Policy
  • Referral of enquiries to external departments when necessary. If you do not want your enquiry and/or details shared with other departments/entities, please let us know.
  • Exemplary customer service in line with our timeframes below.
  • A phone line available 9am-5pm Mon-Fri (excluding public holidays and Christmas shutdown period).
  • We will adhere to the department’s Code of Ethics and Conduct

What you cannot expect

  • Legal advice. We provide information on projects and policies. However, you must seek your own legal interpretation or advice from a legal practitioner.
  • We don’t provide information about services or activities provided by other agencies.
  • We do not provide personal information about other customers and/or departmental staff.
  • We can’t provide sensitive or confidential information.

Our timeframes

  • We aim to respond to all phone calls immediately. If not, we will return any voicemail within one business day.
  • We will respond to all email enquiries within 5 business days.
  • If we need more time to resolve the enquiry, we will notify you. We will give you a reference number for any future interactions you have with us.
  • Some enquiries may need to be referred internally or externally. In this case we will aim to resolve your enquiry within 10 business days. If it will take longer than that, we will endeavour to provide a likely timeframe to resolve your enquiry.
  • For Licensing and Approval enquiries, view the current Licensing and approval timeframes
  • The department has additional guidelines that guide our consultation PDF, 73.99 KB with proponents and consultants for major projects.


The department defines a complaint as “an expression of dissatisfaction made to or about us, our services, our employees or the handling of a complaint where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected”. Matters relating to a delay or failure in providing a service and the quality of an action taken fall under the definition of service-related complaints.

We treat all complaints seriously and take the following steps to resolve them:

  1. Acknowledge complaint within 3 working days. When an immediate resolution is not possible, we aim to resolve within one month.
  2. Where unable to resolve within one month, keep customers informed of the progress of their complaint and likely date of completion.
  3. Record, track and undertake analysis to identify opportunities to improve our programs and services.

Some matters are not covered by this customer service charter and should be addressed under separate arrangements by the business area concerned. When possible, we will refer the following matters to the correct business unit for resolution:

  • Decisions subject to other review processes or outside the control of the department
  • Costs of services provided by the department
  • Grievances
  • Public interest disclosures by employees
  • Complaints about breaches of the Code of Ethics and Conduct
  • Compliance enquiries or complaints
  • General feedback
  • Requests for information and/or service
  • Responses to public consultations

Find more information in the department's Complaint Policy PDF, 150.22 KB.

If you are not satisfied with our response to your complaint, you can contact the NSW Ombudsman

View our Privacy statement