Water is a limited and precious resource and must be managed both for immediate needs and for long-term economic and environmental sustainability. With the effects of climate change now a reality, and increasing demands for water, sound policies are required to ensure a sustainable supply of water for present and future generations.
Our water comes from rivers, streams, and lakes (surface water) and water held under the ground in aquifers (groundwater). The NSW Office of Water is responsible for the strategic management of the State's freshwater resources. This involves:
- setting water policy
- developing statutory water sharing plans
- negotiating interstate and national water agreements
- determining how available water is allocated to water users, particularly during times of drought
- approving the extraction, use and trade of water
- monitoring the quantity and quality of water extractions
- monitoring the ecological health of our aquatic ecosystems
- co-ordinating metropolitan water planning and policy.
In NSW fresh water resources are managed via water sharing plans under the Water Management Act 2000.
A key component of managing the state's water resources is ensuring water users comply with the rules set out by NSW water management legislation. In its regulatory role, the Office of Water works to prevent, detect and stop illegal water activities by promoting, monitoring and enforcing compliance with the legislation and associated regulations.
Water sharing planning follows a cyclic pattern: planning; implementation, then monitoring and evaluation, returning to further planning and repeat of the cycle.
Once planning is completed and the water sharing plan commences, implementation of the plan occurs.
Prior to expiry of the ten year term of a water sharing plan, the plan is reviewed to determine whether it should be reviewed or extended for a further period. Monitoring and evaluation is undertaken to inform this planning remake period.
For a list of draft water sharing plans, including those still on public exhibition, go to Plans on exhibition.
For a list of all commenced water sharing plans go to Plans commenced.
To find out about the review process for water sharing plans and to view a table outlining the schedule for the remake of already commenced water sharing plans go to Plans under review.
For a list of draft water sharing plans which are still under development go to Plans under development.
The Office of Water also works with partner agencies and with the community to provide a reliable, sustainable supply of water for households, irrigators, farmers, industry and the environment.
WaterNSW operates the major rural dams across NSW. Water supplies to households are the responsibility of local water utilities across most of NSW and State-owned Corporations in the major metropolitan centres.
For non-metropolitan areas the Office of Water provides managerial, technical and financial support under the Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Program.