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Statutory review of the Water NSW Act 2014

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment conducted a five-year statutory review of the Water NSW Act 2014.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment conducted a five-year statutory review of the Water NSW Act 2014 (the Act). The review considered whether the Act is effective and whether it enables WaterNSW to deliver water in an efficient and safe manner and found the Act remains fit for purpose.

About the Act

The Act establishes WaterNSW and sets out its objectives and functions. The Act enables WaterNSW to capture, store and deliver bulk water to customers across the State and to manage Greater Sydney’s drinking water catchment.

WaterNSW’s customers include irrigators and water utilities such as regional councils and Sydney Water. It does not provide drinking quality water direct to customers.

WaterNSW was created to bring together expertise on water quality, bulk water asset management and catchment management. By doing so, one of its aims was to improve quality and efficiency of services. Another purpose was to improve the government’s ability to anticipate, plan and react to water-quality issues and environmental concerns, such as droughts and floods.

WaterNSW’s main objectives are to:

  • Capture, store and release water in an efficient, effective, safe and financially responsible manner
  • Supply water in compliance with appropriate standards of quality
  • Ensure that declared catchment areas and water management works in such areas are managed and protected so as to promote water quality, the protection of public health and public safety, and the protection of the environment
  • Provide for the planning, design, modelling and construction of water storages and other water management works
  • Maintain and operate its works efficiently and economically and in accordance with sound commercial principles.

The Act is available on the NSW Legislation website.

Review findings

The Review found that:

  1. The policy objectives of the Act remain valid and the mechanisms in the Act that specify the terms and conditions that WaterNSW must adhere to remain largely appropriate for securing the objectives.
  2. There is benefit, but no urgency, in making three minor legislative changes to improve the clarity and operation of the Act. These relate to standards for performance of certain functions, introduction of customer contracts into the Act and clarifying the definition of public authorities. Implementation of these recommendations could be considered whenever the Act is next updated.
  3. There are opportunities to enhance WaterNSW's Operating Licence to improve clarity around purpose, roles and functions. These opportunities will be considered in the next review of the Operating Licence in 2022.

The department prepared a Final Report (PDF, 411.65 KB) which has been tabled in Parliament. Please note this version of the report was updated on 21 December 2020 to correct initial referencing errors.

Submissions received

As part of the submission process, the department released an issues paper (PDF, 1218.4 KB)

Public submissions closed on Wednesday, 30 September 2020. The department received fourteen written submissions in response to the Issues Paper, including one from WaterNSW, and received direct input from six additional stakeholders, including government agencies.

Public submissions received

Copies of the submissions can be accessed below, excluding those where consent to publish was not provided. Please note, these documents are sorted in alphabetical order.

*Some submissions have been updated to correct formatting errors.