Frequently asked questions
- Why is the NSW Government changing how services are delivered to the water sector?
- What triggered the review of NSW’s water management?
- When will these changes take effect?
- How can I find out more about these changes?
- What functions are being transferred?
- Will my water bill go up as a result of these changes?
- What does this mean for DPI Water and WaterNSW staff? Will they lose their jobs?
- How will these changes affect NSW’s commitment to the Murray Darling Basin Plan and delivery of major policies and projects?
- How are these changes linked to the recent merger of State Water and Sydney Catchment Authority – and the creation of WaterNSW?
- Will there be a disruption in services? Will I still get the same level of service?
- Will there be any office closures? And if so, which offices will be closed?
Why is the NSW Government changing how services are delivered to the water sector?
The NSW Government has initiated extensive reform to look at how it can better service the state’s $3.5 billion irrigated agriculture sector and improve the management of critical water resources.
Water users have been at the centre of these reforms.
Following the creation of DPI Water and WaterNSW, we’ve looked closely at which functions and activities are best delivered by each of those entities.
The passage of the Water NSW Amendment (Staff Transfers) Bill through Parliament is an important step in the reallocation of functions between DPI Water and WaterNSW – reducing duplication and improving how we service the water sector.
These changes will see WaterNSW leading customer activities – meaning farmers and irrigators will no longer have to deal with multiple entities for their everyday water needs.
DPI Water will now have a sharpened focus on policy, and water market regulation, with oversight of major government funded water infrastructure projects.
WaterNSW will focus on its current functions (which include catchment protection and water quality responsibilities within the Greater Sydney catchment, planning, development and delivery of water infrastructure solutions and water supply and delivery systems operations), together with management of groundwater and surface water, all customer transactional dealings and all in-field services.
What triggered the review of NSW’s water management?
The NSW Government is committed to improving how we manage critical water resources whilst better servicing communities, customers and the irrigated agriculture sector.
A number of reviews have recommended that the roles of DPI Water and WaterNSW be clarified in order to drive efficiencies and provide a clear separation between regulatory and operational functions.
These reforms will ensure:
- Improved customer experience;
- Removal of duplication of activities across Government agencies;
- Efficient operations;
- Separation of regulatory and operational functions in line with the National Water Initiative.
When will these changes take effect?
It is anticipated that this transfer will be effective from 1 July 2016.
There are extensive transition arrangements in place to ensure this does not disrupt the delivery of services in anyway.
How can I find out more about these changes?
WaterNSW can be contacted on 1300 662 077 or via email at Customer.Helpdesk@waternsw.com.au
What functions are being transferred?
To deliver these reforms and improve outcomes for customers and water users, functions and staff relating to the following areas will be transferred from DPI Water to WaterNSW:
- Customer Transactions (excluding corporate customers)
- Compliance investigations for customers (excluding compliance activities such as compliance relating to, local water utilities, water corporations, major utilities, mining companies and state significant developments)
- Licensing administration and billing (excluding licencing activities such as licensing of major utilities and mining projects)
- Water Quality Monitoring
- Hydrometric Assessment
- Metering Operations
Following these changes, DPI Water will have a sharpened focus on policy, and water market regulation, with oversight of major government funded water infrastructure projects.
DPI Water will also focus on representing NSW’s interest at the national level – including implementing the Murray Darling Basin Plan – and getting the best deal for NSW.
The Department will also retain science functions including water resource modelling and coordinating the management of Blue Green Algae in rivers and dams.
Will my water bill go up as a result of these changes?
Water prices are primarily set by IPART however it is expected that the transfer of functions will result in more efficient operations which may translate into lower costs to service delivery and reduced tariffs.
What does this mean for DPI Water and WaterNSW staff? Will they lose their jobs?
No, as part of the changes up to 250 staff will be transferred from DPI Water to WaterNSW to support the increased focus on customer service.
DPI Water staff that are transferred to WaterNSW will retain all existing employment conditions and benefits and will be consulted on the changes.
How will these changes affect NSW’s commitment to the Murray Darling Basin Plan and delivery of major policies and projects?
The reforms are consistent with NSW’s commitments under the National Water Initiative and will improve NSW’s delivery of major policies and projects.
The changes will allow DPI Water to continue to focus on representing NSW’s interest at the national level – including implementing the Murray Darling Basin Plan – and getting the best deal for NSW.
We saw the value of this work recently – securing a historic agreement at the Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council, including agreement for a more flexible and adaptive approach to achieving sustainable diversion limits.
How are these changes linked to the recent merger of State Water and Sydney Catchment Authority – and the creation of WaterNSW?
These changes are the next stage of these reforms, putting both DPI Water and Water NSW on a sustainable footing to deliver an improvement of services provided to customers, along with the removal of duplication and inefficiencies.
Will there be a disruption in services? Will I still get the same level of service?
The NSW Government does not anticipate any disruption in services. In fact, these reforms will reduce duplication and inefficiencies and are anticipated to improve customer outcomes.
The NSW Government will keep water customers and staff informed as operational and staff plans are finalised.
Will there be any office closures? And if so, which offices will be closed?
These reforms aim to improve services to water users and customers. There are currently no plans to close offices however a longer term office location strategy is currently being finalised and any changes will be communicated to staff and customers.
Customers and improved services will be front and centre in any changes to locations.