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Improve the regulatory and assurance framework

Guidance for local water utility strategic planning

Information about guidance for strategic planning outcome areas and how to use the IP&R framework for local water utility planning.

Townscape of Inverell. Image courtesy of Destination NSW.

Guidance on strategic planning outcomes

Under section 3 of the 'Regulatory and assurance framework for local water utilities', the department establishes what outcomes it expects effective, evidence-based strategic planning to achieve (see section 3.2) and assesses if a local water utility’s strategic planning achieves these outcomes to a reasonable standard (see sections 3.3 and 3.4).

The department is developing guidance on achieving strategic planning outcomes to a reasonable standard, to supplement the framework. This guidance includes:

  • more detail on the expectations for achieving this outcome to a reasonable standard
  • optional ‘how to’ guidance that helps utilities achieve regulatory expectations.

Guidance

The department’s Town Water Risk Reduction Program has produced guidance on the outcome “implement sound pricing and prudent financial management”

Download the guidance (PDF, 1.7 MB)

Ongoing guidance development

We continue to develop other guidance for local water utility strategic planning. In October and November 2022 we will progressively publish guidance for each of the 12 strategic planning outcome areas identified in the regulatory and assessment framework.

Guidance on using the Integrated Planning and Reporting framework for local water utility strategic planning

The department’s guidance Using the Integrated Planning and Reporting framework for local water utility strategic planning (PDF, 573.33 KB) is for councils interested in using the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) framework of the Local Government Act 1993 for local water utility strategic planning.

We will continue to work with interested councils and joint organisations of councils over the next cycle of IP&R (from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2025) to support pilots using the IP&R framework for local water utility strategic planning. The intention is to learn from these councils and share their knowledge, expertise, and learnings with the sector more broadly through future updates of this guidance. Councils interested in participating in the pilot process should contact the Town Water Risk Reduction Program at regional.town.water@dpie.nsw.gov.au.

A potential regional approach to local water utility strategic planning

The Central NSW Joint Organisation (CNSWJO) is collaborating with the Department of Planning and Environment’s Town Water Risk Reduction Program (TWRRP) to co-design a potential regional approach to strategic planning for local water utilities.

We have developed a report that summarises the advice from two workshops held on 16 November and 8 December 2021 to explore these issues. The workshops sought to provide insights on:

  • what are the key elements of a regional approach to strategic water planning?
  • who is responsible for undertaking each of the key elements?
  • what resourcing considerations and governance structures would best support a regional approach to strategic water planning?
  • what are the key opportunities, constraints, and barriers to implementing a regional approach to strategic water planning?

The report combines the feedback received in the two workshops and proposes that there is potential value in working with Joint Organisation member Councils to integrate regional local water utility strategic planning with the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) framework of the Local Government Act.

A potential next step to progressing this work is to test the approach through the department’s pilot process supporting councils to use the IP&R framework for local water utility strategic planning.

Report

A potential regional approach to local water utility strategic planning - overview of findings and summary of recommendations.

Download the report (PDF. 954KB)