A NSW Government website

Non-urban metering

What water users need to know

Three easy steps to help you get meter ready

  1. Check your licence and approval details on the NSW Water Register to see what is listed and whether there are any existing metering conditions that you need to comply with now. WaterNSW can assist you to amend your approval if you need to update any details including the size of your installed pump or make your work inactive.
  2. Use the NSW Government's online metering guidance tool to see if, and how, the rules apply to you.
  3. If the rules apply to you, contact a duly qualified person (DQP), such as a certified meter installer (CMI) to discuss your situation. They can advise you about what equipment you need, and order, install and validate it. A list of DQPs can be found on Irrigation Australia’s website. Just click on 'Certified Meter Installers and Validators' to search for one near you.

Do the metering rules apply to me?

First, check the NSW Water Register to find out what existing conditions you need to comply with.

Then, use our interactive metering guidance tool to see if the new non-urban metering rules apply to you. You may also find that you qualify for an exemption from the non-urban metering rules.

Triggers for non-urban metering rules

If your work meets any one or more of the triggers listed below, your work must comply with the non-urban metering rules.

Trigger Already required to meter or measure (check Statement of Approval) At-risk groundwater sources* Surface water infrastructure Groundwater infrastructure Multiple works
Requirement to meterAll works with a pre-existing condition to meter or measure All works that take from an at-risk groundwater source* All works, except pumps less than 100mm as authorised by the authority All works, except bores less than 200mm as authorised by the authority All pumps and bores, except multiple pumps or bores below the multiple thresholds
*At-risk groundwater sources are set out in Schedule 9 of the Water Management (General) Regulation 2018.

Rollout dates

The non-urban metering rules are rolling out in stages to give water users, suppliers and installers of metering equipment enough time to prepare to become compliant with the rules.

The next rollout date is for water users in the Northern Inland who must have compliant equipment installed by 1 December 2021.

If you are captured by the non-urban metering rules and you are installing a new or replacement meter–your new meter must be compliant, regardless of your rollout date.

1 April 2019

New and replacement

Faulty meters
Inactive works

Stage 1

1 December 2020

Surface water pumps 200mm and above

Stage 2

1 December 2021

Inland Northern regions

Stage 3

1 December 2022

Inland Southern regions

Stage 4

1 December 2023

Eastern and Coastal NSW regions

Report a faulty meter

You must report faulty metering equipment within 24 hours of becoming aware of it to WaterNSW by submitting a 91i self reporting form.

More information

Exemptions from the non-urban metering rules

The table below summarises the various exemptions from the non-urban metering rules.

If an exemption applies to your work, it does not need to comply with the non-urban metering rules, even if it meets one of the triggers described above.

Exemptions from the non-urban metering rules

Last updated 22 November 2021.

Exemption More information
Works used solely to take water under a basic landholder right Find out if you are taking water under a basic landholder right.
Works that have been made inactive A work can be made inactive if it is incapable of taking water.

You will need to apply to your licensing authority to tag the work as inactive. When you make your application to amend your water supply works approval, you will need to demonstrate that the work is incapable of taking water.

Works that cannot physically comply with the non-urban metering rules The Minister may exempt a work if it cannot physically comply with the non-urban metering rules. If an exemption is granted, the Minister may also require the work to be fitted with alternative metering equipment.

To apply for this exemption, email regulatory.implementation@dpie.nsw.gov.au.

Works that are not nominated against a water access licence To withdraw a nominated work from your access licence, contact your licensing authority – WaterNSW  or NRAR.
Small, low-risk works used solely to take water under a stock and domestic water access licence.

Note: this exemption lapses on 1 December 2024

To be eligible for the exemption the work must meet all of the following criteria:
  • a pump less than 100 mm in diameter or a bore less than 200 mm in diameter
  • solely takes water under a domestic and stock water access licence (other than for town water supply) and a basic landholder right
  • does not take water from an at-risk groundwater source
  • is not listed under the same authority or linked to the same access licence as another work that requires a meter
  • is not on the same landholding as another work that requires a meter and is held by the same person.

What metering equipment do I need?

A duly qualified person, such as a certified meter installer must certify that your work is fitted with the following three components by your rollout date.

Equipment More information
A compliant meter that accurately measures water take If a meter was installed:
  • on or after 1 April 2019, it must be pattern-approved
  • before 1 April 2019, it does not have to be pattern-approved but must be shown to be +/-2.5% accurate in factory conditions, or +/- 5% in the field

The Commonwealth National Measurement Institute is responsible for providing pattern-approval of meters. The MDBA maintains a list of pattern-approved meters.

A local intelligence device (LID) that records the water taken through your work and makes the data recorded available to government LIDs for surface water pumps, except pumps less than 200 mm in diameter, must transmit water take information to the NSW Government’s telemetry system – the data acquisition service (DAS).

LIDs for other works must either transmit water take information to the DAS or this data must be available onsite for WaterNSW and NRAR field staff who are authorised officers.

All LIDs must meet the technical specifications approved by the Minister.

Tamper-evident seals that show if equipment has been interfered with Irrigation Australia Limited is responsible for supplying compliant tamper-evident seals.

Tamper-evident seals can only be installed or broken by a duly qualified person, such as a certified meter installer or by a WaterNSW or NRAR employee who is an authorised officer.

Keeping an existing, non-pattern-approved meter

You can keep a non-pattern-approved meter installed before 1 April 2019, if you can show the following before your rollout date:

  1. the meter’s manufacturer confirmed the meter was within +/- 2.5% accuracy in factory conditions and a duly qualified person (DQP) has certified that the meter has been correctly installed, or
  2. a DQP confirmed the meter is within +/- 5% accuracy in the field.

You will also need to show that the meter has been fitted with a LID and tamper-evident seals.

Under Schedule 8.9(5) of the Water Management Act (2000), a report must be given to the Minister by a person (water user) who intends to rely on existing metering equipment. Complete the report to rely on transitional arrangements to keep existing metering equipment.

Using a government-owned meter

There are approximately 3,000 government-owned meters installed in the Southern Basin, Hawkesbury–Nepean and Bega regions, largely through Commonwealth–funded programs.

WaterNSW is responsible for ensuring these meters meet the relevant standards. Contact WaterNSW immediately to submit a Section91i form if these meters are not operating properly.

Financial support to install metering equipment 

There are a range of NSW and Australian Government programs that can help water users manage the impact of purchasing metering equipment:

  • The NSW and Australian Government have each committed $9 million for a telemetry rebate program for water users who install compliant telemetry equipment. The rebate will automatically be applied as a $975 credit on a water user's bill when they connect to the NSW Government's telemetry system and will be backdated to include water users who have already connected.
  • Under the Australian Government’s instant asset write–off scheme, farmers can deduct the full purchase price of assets up to $150,000—such as metering equipment—from their taxable income.
  • The NSW Farm Innovation Fund provides loans to meet the costs of carrying out capital works, including metering, that benefit the long-term profitability of businesses.

Telemetry

All metered surface water works must transmit water take information to the NSW Government’s telemetry system, unless they are surface pumps less than 200 mm.

You may voluntarily install telemetry equipment, and have it connected to the NSW Government’s telemetry system even if an exemption applies to your work. This will avoid the need for some recording and reporting requirements.

Once you are connected to the telemetry system, you will be able to access the information that is transmitted to the NSW Government’s telemetry system through a private online dashboard. You will also receive email notifications when your telemetry system is not transmitting data.

Telemetry service check

The local intelligence device (LID) that records the water taken through your work requires Telstra service to record data to you and meet your recording requirements to the government.

The government have a mobile coverage tool to identify your mobile coverage in NSW for metered telemetry. This tool can assist you and your meter installer decide the best way to meter your water take and if telemetry is suitable for you.

Complete your details on the mobile coverage tool to see the telemetry possibilities for you.

Who can install and validate a meter?

Under the non-urban metering rules, only a DQP can install and validate metering equipment, including LIDs and tamper-evident seals.

There are two main types of DQPs:

  • certified meter installers (CMIs), who can install and validate metering equipment for closed conduit works, such as pumps and bores
  • certified practising hydrographers, who can install and validate metering equipment for open conduit works, such as channels and regulators

Maintenance and re-validation

You will need to ensure that your metering equipment is maintained and re-validated in accordance with Schedule 1 and 2 in the Maintenance Specifications 2019,  approved by the Minister.

Schedule 1 and 2 state:

  • Meters for closed conduit works, such as pumps and bores must be checked, maintained and re-validated by a certified meter installer at least once every five years.
  • Meters for open conduit works, such as channels or regulators, must be checked, maintained and re-validated by a certified practising hydrographer at least once every 12 months.

Some maintenance activities can be done by water users at any time outside of the regular maintenance intervals.

Recording and reporting water take

After your rollout date, you will be required to manually report your water take if you:

  • are not required to have a meter
  • are required to have a meter but do not use telemetry
  • use a single metered work to take water under a water access licence and another right, such as a basic landholder right.

Recording and reporting – unmetered works


Record


Report

Licensed water take

Water take under BLR or licence exemption*

Confirm water taken according to conditions

Licensed water take

Water take under BLR or licence exemption*

Confirm water taken according to conditions

Within 24 hours Each year within 28 days of end of water year

*Only if the work is used to take both licensed water and under a basic landholder right or another licence exemption.

Recording and reporting – metered works without telemetry


Record


Report

Licensed water take

Water take under BLR or licence exemption*

Confirm water taken according to conditions

Licensed water take

Water take under BLR or licence exemption*

Confirm water taken according to conditions

Automatic by LID Within 24 hours Each month Not required

*Only if the work is used to take both licensed water and under a basic landholder right or another licence exemption.

Recording and reporting – metered works that take BLR


Record


Report

Licensed water take

Water take under BLR or licence exemption*

Confirm water taken according to conditions

Licensed water take

Water take under BLR or licence exemption*

Confirm water taken according to conditions

Automatic by LID Within 24 hours Automatic by LID Volume within 14 days after each month Not required

*Only if the work is used to take both licensed water and under a basic landholder right or another licence exemption.

Reporting requirements where no water take occurs

If the reporting requirements apply to you, you will need to report every month even if you do not take water.

However, you will not need to report for a period of up to six months if:

  • before the period, you are to notify WaterNSW to confirm that you do not intend to take water for that period
  • after the period, you are to notify WaterNSW to confirm that you did not actually take water in that period.

If you take water during this period, you will revert to monthly reporting requirements.

Telemetry coverage exemption

Check if you are in a telemetry coverage blackspot and see if an exemption applies.