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Joint private works schemes

Private water trusts

Private water trusts are formed by groups of landholders to share and manage private water infrastructure. There are 103 trusts and no more can be created.

Borepipe overflow.

About private water trusts

Private water trusts are formed by groups of landholders to share and manage private water infrastructure. They were established under the Water Act 1912 and have been continued under the Water Management Act 2000. No new trusts can be created. There are 103 private water trusts.


Private water trusts provide, maintain, or operate water supply systems, water distribution systems or drainage systems. In exercising their water supply, water distribution and drainage functions, trusts can, for example:

  • construct, install, maintain, and manage their works
  • supply water to members
  • drain water from member’s land
  • enter into agreements with non-members to use the trust’s works to supply water or drain water from non-member’s land.

Each trust is unique and operates within the area specified in their works plan.


Private water trusts are run by elected trustees and governed by rules approved by their members. Trust rules are binding on members, trustees and other landholders that receive services from the trust. Trusts generally operate by voting at the membership and trustee level. However, the Water Management Act 2000 specifies how some decisions must be made. For example:

  • at least two-thirds of members need to approve:
    • changes to the rules
    • changes in membership that require changes to the works plan
    • converting a private water trust to a private water corporation
  • at least 75% of members need to approve winding up a trust.

Otherwise, trust rules identify the decisions which must be made by members and the voting rights of members. Other decisions can be made by the trustees.

As body corporates recognised under the Water Management Act 2000, private water trusts may hold access licences or approvals, land, and other property.


The members of a private water trust are generally the owners of land within the area specified in the trust’s works plan.

The membership of private water trusts automatically changes when land within the trust is sold. If you purchase land to which the trust provides services, you automatically become a member of the trust. Trust rules can specify if new members can be added in other ways. For example, by including additional land in the works plan. Any membership changes that require changes to the works plan require the approval of two-thirds of members.

Membership can also change because of subdivisions. Subdividing land does not automatically:

  • entitle any other person to be a member or be supplied with services
  • affect any existing entitlement of any other person in relation to any service
  • affect any functions of the trust in relation to their works.

However, trusts can create procedures for subdivision and decide how subdivision affects membership in their rules.

More information

List of private water trusts

There are 103 private water trusts. If your trust is not listed below or is listed incorrectly, please contact us on either 1300 081 047 or jpws@dpie.nsw.gov.au.

  • 3 B Bore Water Trust
  • Algudgerie Creek Weir Water Trust
  • Angledool Bore Water Trust
  • Avon Downs Bore Water Trust
  • Bama Irrigation Trust
  • Bangate Bore Water Trust
  • Beanbah Bore Water Trust
  • Boobora Bore Water Trust
  • Boomi Bore Water Trust
  • Boomi River Water Trust
  • Boonaldoon Bore Water Trust
  • Boronga Bore Water Trust
  • Brewon Bore Water Trust
  • Brewon No. 3 Bore Water Trust
  • Bringan Irrigation Trust
  • Bugilbone Bore Water Trust
  • Bullatale Creek Water Trust
  • Bulyeroi Bore Water Trust
  • Bungle Gully Bore Water Trust
  • Bungunyah-Koraleigh Irrigation Trust
  • Bunyah Bore Water Trust
  • Burren Bore Water Trust
  • Careunga Bore Water Trust
  • Collarenebri Water Trust
  • Collymongle Bore Water Trust
  • Combogolong Bore Water Trust
  • Come-By-Chance Bore Water Trust
  • Condobolin West Weir Water Trust
  • Condong Drainage Trust
  • Coubal Bore Water Trust
  • Curragundi Bore Water Trust
  • Currumbah Bore Water Trust
  • Dolgelly Bore Water Trust
  • Drildool Bore Water Trust
  • Duck Drainage Trust
  • Dumble Bore Water Trust
  • Dungle Ridge Bore Water Trust
  • Euraba Bore Water Trust
  • Eurie Eurie Bore Water Trust
  • Florida Bore Water Trust
  • Four Posts Bore Water Trust
  • Gil Gil Bogamildi Bore Water Trust
  • Glenrock and Tennessee Drainage Trust
  • Glenview Irrigation Trust
  • Goodnight Irrigation Trust
  • Goondablui Bore Water Trust
  • Gunbar Water Trust
  • Hollywood Bore Water Trust
  • Kiga Bore Water Trust
  • Little Merran Creek Water Trust
  • Llanillo Bore Water Trust
  • Lower Quambone Bore Water Trust
  • Marlow Bore Water Trust
  • Marrowie Creek Water Trust
  • Mercadool Bore Water Trust
  • Mercadool No. 2 Bore Water Trust
  • Meroe Bore Water Trust
  • Micabil Weir Water Trust
  • Midkin No. 3 Bore Water Trust
  • Millie Bore Water Trust
  • Milroy Bore Water Trust
  • Minnie Bend Flood Prevention Trust
  • Moomin Bore Water Trust
  • Morendah Bore Water Trust
  • Muckerawa Bore Water Trust
  • Mungyer Bore Water Trust
  • Munna Munna Bore Water Trust
  • Narba Bore Water Trust
  • Neargo Bore Water Trust
  • New Yarrawa Bore Trust
  • Nidgery Weir Water Trust
  • Nowley Bore Water Trust
  • Nullawa Bore Water Trust
  • Oakleigh Weirs Water Trust
  • Oaks Bore Water Trust
  • Old Gnomery Bore Water Trust
  • Oreel No. 1 Bore Water Trust
  • Oreel No. 2 Bore Water Trust
  • Pagan Creek Bore Water Trust
  • Pilliga Bore Water Trust
  • Polly Brewon No. 1 Bore Water Trust
  • Pomona Irrigation Trust
  • Quambone Bore Water Trust
  • Quilbone No 2 Bore Water Trust
  • Rowena Bore Water Trust
  • Sherwood Bore Water Trust
  • Talmoi Bore Water Trust
  • Telleraga Bore Water Trust
  • Terrigal Bore Water Trust
  • Torriganny, Muggarah and Merrimajeel Creeks Trust
  • Tulloona Bore Water Trust
  • Tunda Bore Water Trust
  • Tyagarah Swamp Drainage Trust
  • Tyndale Drainage Trust
  • Ulumbie Bore Water Trust
  • Uranbah Bore Water Trust
  • Warrana Bore Water Trust
  • Welbondonga Bore Water Trust
  • West Cadell Irrigation Trust
  • Wingadee Bore Water Trust
  • Yeranbah Bore Water Trust
  • Youendah Bore Water Trust
  • Yowie Bore Water Trust

Works plans

Private water trusts operate within the area specified in their works plan. Works plans are for the purpose of identifying a trust’s current and proposed works. They do not replace the requirement for licences and approvals under the Water Management Act 2000 or any other Act. Each trust is responsible for making their own works plan. We do not approve works plans but may request a copy.

Under reforms that started on 1 March 2024, existing plans and works are recognised. Trusts need to change or replace these plans by holding a general meeting to vote on adopting a works plan by 1 March 2025. If a trust does not adopt a works plan by 1 March 2025, we may appoint someone to prepare the works plan and recover the cost from the trust.

We are working with other government agencies to collate and digitise existing plan boundaries. Once available, we will share these records with trusts to help them develop their works plans.

What goes in the works plan?

A works plan must include a map or diagram of the private water trust’s water management works or proposed works. These are the works which the trust uses to provide their water supply or drainage services and is responsible for operating and maintaining. For example, works include the trust’s pumps, tanks, pipes, channels, dams, weirs, drains, sluices, sluice gates and valves.

The works plan also needs to:

  • identify and describe the trust’s current and proposed water management works, including their location
  • specify the land the works plan applies to
  • reference any access licences the trust holds by specifying the licence number
  • reference any water supply work approval or activity approval the trust holds by specifying the approval number
  • specify the address where the works plan will be kept and from which a copy of the works plan can be obtained.

It is up to each trust whether they include all the information on a map or diagram. For example, a trust’s works plan could be a map or diagram, a series of maps or diagrams, or maps or diagrams and descriptive text. If non-trust works are also shown on the works plan, they must be clearly marked as non-trust works.

Changing the works plan

Works plans can be changed. It is the private water trust’s responsibility to prepare any new or amended works plans.

Changes to works plans must be agreed to by any landholder whose land has an affected work situated on it and as otherwise required by the trust’s rules. Changes to the works plan resulting from membership changes requires approval of at least two-thirds of trust members.

Trust rules

Private water trusts are governed by the Water Management Act 2000 and regulations, and rules approved by their members. Trust rules are binding on members and other landholders that receive services from the trust. Each trust is responsible for making their own rules. We do not approve trust rules but may request a copy.

We have developed model rules to help trusts make their rules. The model rules are like a template and:

  • comply with the Water Management Act 2000 and regulations
  • identify areas of flexibility
  • align with general principles of good corporate governance.

Trusts can choose to adopt the model rules, change the model rules where they are flexible, or develop their own rules consistent with the Act and regulations.

Model rules

Model rules for private water trusts Template rules that private water trusts may adopt as their internal administrative rules (DOCX, 97.72 KB).
Model rules guide Guide (PDF, 185.3 KB) designed to be read with the model rules for private water trusts. The guide explains how to use the template rules.

Under reforms that started on 1 March 2024, existing documents are recognised as trust rules. Trusts need to change or replace these rules by holding a general meeting to vote on adopting rules by 1 March 2025. Rules must be approved by at least two-thirds of members. If a trust does not adopt rules by 1 March 2025, the model rules will become the trust rules.

What goes in the rules?

The Water Management Act 2000 and regulations list what private water trusts can make rules about. For example, trusts can make rules about:

  • membership
  • trustees, including the frequency and process for elections
  • members’ and trustee meetings (i.e. meeting quorums, frequency and voting rights)
  • rates and charges, including security for unpaid rates and charges
  • selling or transferring member’s water entitlements
  • resolving disputes
  • amalgamating with other corporations
  • winding up.

Changing the rules

Private water trusts can change their rules. Changes generally require approval of two-thirds of members entitled to vote on the change. However, trust rules can specify the changes that can occur without this approval.

Members rights and obligations

Members of private water trusts have the right to:

  • request a copy of the rules or works plan
  • request to have their water entitlement determined
  • request to sell or transfer their water entitlement to another member
  • request to have their water entitlement transformed
  • view audited financial statements at annual general meetings
  • vote on changes in membership requiring changes to the works plan, changes to rules and winding up the scheme.

Trust rules can also include other member’s rights like:

  • attending and speaking at meetings
  • putting forward resolutions at meetings
  • asking board members to call meetings
  • voting rights
  • member’s decision-making.

Members of trusts also have obligations. For example, trust members must:

  • comply with the trust rules
  • notify the trust when selling their land. Before you sell land that a trust provides, or can provide, water supply or drainage services to, you must give written notice of your intention to sell the land. You must also give the trust written notice after you sell your land. This notice must be given within 21 days of the sale and include the date of the sale, the purchaser’s name and whether you informed the purchaser that the land is within the trust’s area.
  • pay rates and charges
  • provide distribution works if requested by the trustees.

Trust rules can include other member’s obligations like keeping contact information up to date.


Rates and charges

Private water trusts must set rates and charges for each financial year. Trusts can set rates and charges for:

  • landholdings owned or occupied by members for which the trust exercises their functions
  • providing water or drainage services.

Setting rates and charges

Rates and charges must be sufficient to meet the estimated costs of providing services, paying liabilities, likely costs for maintaining, improving, or replacing works, and may provide for a sinking fund. Private water trusts can decide what they base their charges on. For example:

  • the volume or quality of water supplied or proposed to be supplied to a landholding
  • the area of the landholding
  • whether the trust provides or proposes to provide water or drainage services to a landholding
  • the purpose for which water services are supplied or proposed to be supplied to a landholding.

If trusts fix rates and charges based on the area of a landholding, they must fix them per hectare and round fractions up to the nearest hectare.

The basis on which rates and charges are set and the procedure for setting rates and charges must be in the trust rules. The procedure could include, for example, requiring rates and charges to be voted on by members.

Paying rates and charges

Private water trusts must inform their ratepayers of their rates and charges in writing. For example, by issuing a rates notice. Trusts must give notice within 21 days of setting the rates and charges. The trust rules must set out when rates and charges need to be paid.

Trusts may charge interest on overdue rates and charges. However, the interest rate cannot be higher than the rate of interest payable on an unpaid judgment of the Supreme Court. To charge interest, your rates notice must specify the basis on which your trust calculated interest and when interest becomes payable.

Recovering unpaid rates and charges

Private water trusts can recover unpaid rates as a charge on the land and through the court.

If a trust has included requiring security in its rules, it can also recover unpaid rates and charges by forfeiting the security.

Trusts may also suspend, restrict or refuse water supply to members or landholders if they fail to pay rates and charges.

Financial statements

Private water trusts must prepare financial statements for each financial year. The financial statements must:

  • present fairly the trust’s financial position, financial performance, and cash flows
  • be prepared in accordance with the standards issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board and any other requirements specified in the Government Sector Finance Act 2018, the regulations made under that Act or directions issued by the Treasurer.

Trusts must also have their financial statements audited annually. The auditor must be either a:

  • registered company auditor within the meaning of the Commonwealth Corporations Act 2001
  • Certified Practising Accountant member of CPA Australia, New South Wales Division
  • member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, New South Wales Region, who holds a Certificate of Public Practice issued by that Institute
  • member of the Institute of Public Accountants who holds a Professional Practice Certificate issued by that Institute.

There is no obligation for trusts to give us copies of their audited financial statements each financial year, but we may request a copy.

Winding up trusts

We can wind up private water trusts on their request or if an administrator recommends winding up.

To ask to be wound up, the private water trust must have held a vote and at least 75% of members must have voted to wind up. As part of deciding to wind up, we recommend that private water trusts also pass a resolution about how assets are distributed.

As there are several steps that need to be taken to officially wind up a private water trust, it is important that you contact us for guidance on the legal process to do this. If you would like to discuss winding-up, please contact us on either

1300 081 047 or jpws@dpie.nsw.gov.au.

Private water trusts can apply to amalgamate with other private water trusts.

Private water trusts can apply to become a private water corporation.

Frequently asked questions

Have a question? Read our frequently asked questions about the Joint Private Works Scheme and private water trusts.