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Water industry regulatory reform

The Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 has been amended to transform the regulation of water and sewerage service providers in Queensland.

The focus of regulation is now on outcomes, and the new framework will provide greater transparency and accountability for customers about their services.

Below is an overview of the regulatory reforms for the industry and what service providers need to do.

Water Supply Act

Annual performance reporting

Under the new framework service providers will no longer need to have:

  • strategic asset management plans
  • system leakage management plans
  • drought management plans
  • outdoor water use conservation plans.

Instead, drinking water and sewerage service providers will need to prepare an annual report on their performance against key performance indicators (PDF, 539.3KB) (KPIs). The KPIs have been developed in close consultation with the industry and will be set by a notice from the Queensland Water Supply Regulator.

Service providers that supply water for non-drinking purposes will not need to prepare a performance report but must maintain their registration as a service provider.

Industry comparative report

As part of the new framework, the Department of Energy and Water Supply will prepare an annual comparative report that compares the performance of water and sewerage service providers across the state. Customers will be able to see how their service provider performs relative to similar providers in Queensland.

Customer service standards

All drinking water and sewerage service providers will need to consult with their customers to develop an enhanced customer service standard that links to the new performance indicators.

Service providers will need to set target levels of service for a number of the KPIs and list these targets in their customer service standard. These KPIs will measure the customer’s direct experience of the service and will be specified in the notice given by the regulator about performance reports.

Customer service standards will need to be published online and reviewed every five years.

Improvement plans

In certain circumstances the regulator will be able to investigate a drinking or sewerage service provider’s performance in relation to water security or continuity of the service.

If risks to water security or service continuity are identified, the regulator may require a service provider to develop and implement an improvement plan. This plan must address how the risks to the service are to be managed.

Recycled water regulation

Recycled water regulation has been simplified to reduce the burden on many recycled water providers.

Only recycled water schemes which supply for higher exposure uses or are declared to be ‘critical’ will need to have an approved recycled water management plan. Higher exposure uses include:

  • supplying a dual reticulation system
  • irrigating minimally processed crops.

Schemes that supply only to low exposure uses will simply be required to be registered by the provider with the regulator.

Operational improvements

A number of operational improvements have been built into the new regulatory framework to reduce regulatory burden:

  • Service providers will not need to give tenants water advice notices about the volume of water supplied in each billing period.
  • Service providers in South East Queensland will not need to publish draft water and sewerage service charges.
  • The legislation has been amended to clarify that a service provider’s authorised person can install primary water meters. However, sub-meters will still need to be installed by a licensed plumber.

Next steps

The key obligations and dates for service providers under the framework are:

  • By 1 July 2014: register existing recycled water schemes.
  • 1 July 2014: begin collecting key performance indicator data for annual performance report.
  • By 31 December 2014: develop new customer service standards.
  • 1 October 2015: submit annual performance report and publish online as soon as practicable.

Service providers will also need to publish their performance reports and customer service standards online as soon as practicable.

Find out more

For further information about the reforms phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or email: uwrp@dews.qld.gov.au.

Last updated
12 June 2014