About the program
The Rural Water Management Program (RWMP) was established to change the way Queensland’s water resources are managed, measured and reported.
The program will improve rural water management across the state and ensure our valuable water resources are used, measured and monitored effectively.
We are building on our existing programs and delivering projects to:
- strengthen water measurement
- provide transparent water information
- enhance our regulatory approach
- enable robust compliance
We are also pursuing opportunities to optimise water markets to enable the best use of our water resources.
Background to the program
In August 2017, the Queensland Government appointed an independent expert panel to audit non-urban water measurement and compliance. Their report, the Independent audit of non-urban water measurement and compliance (PDF, 1.6MB), was published in March 2018.
In November 2017, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority Water Compliance Review (MDBA Review) delivered an independent basin-wide strategic review into compliance.
Both reviews were carefully considered in conjunction with Queensland’s obligations under the Murray-Darling Basin Compliance Compact.
The Queensland Government accepted, or accepted in principle, the majority of the recommendations of the independent audit and in July 2018 published the Queensland Government response (PDF, 507.6KB).
While the Murray-Darling Basin catchments are a priority area, the Queensland Government's response commits to improving rural water management across the state.
The Rural Water Management Program also addresses commitments made under the National Water Initiative.
Projects and timelines
The following tables provide an overview of key Rural Water Management Program projects and indicative timelines.
Strengthened water measurement
|Comprehensive review of Queensland’s existing non-urban water metering policy and standard||Completed February 2019|
|Statewide risk assessment of water measurement and monitoring activities based on the pressure on the water resource in each catchment||Completed February 2019|
|Develop a new non-urban water measurement policy to, in the first instance, improve the standard and application of metering||2021|
|Develop an overland flow measurement standard and risk-based overland flow management program to improve the measurement and accounting of take of overland flow||2021|
|Implement improved measurement of large-take, high-risk water entitlements in the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin||From 2021|
|Implement the new metering policy using timeframes that consider water resource pressure and drought implications||From 2022|
Transparent water information
Undertake a water dashboard trial in two water management areas to provide water users with information on their entitlements, water availability and their usage|
Note: The trial has enabled us to better understand our customers’ information needs and will help us to further enhance our systems so that water users across the state can access accurate, timely water information.
|Completed March 2018|
|Develop a water entitlement viewer - an interactive online platform to access information about water entitlements||Completed February 2019|
Develop a future state roadmap for water information systems to support contemporary, effective and sustainable water management and compliance |
Note: The roadmap establishes the vision and sets the direction for transforming the water information systems.
|Completed December 2019|
|Undertake a statewide review and audit of our hydrometric networks||2019 to 2021|
|Require resource operations licence holders to report to us on the condition and quality of their hydrometric monitoring networks||2019 to 2020|
Enhanced regulatory approach
|Amend regulations to enhance faulty meter reporting and meter validation requirements||Completed February 2019|
|Review legislation and policies to identify possible enhancements to water compliance arrangements||Completed 2019|
|Develop and publish communication materials and other resources to support entitlement holders to meet requirements under the new measurement policy framework||From 2021|
|Establish a formalised framework and associated governance arrangements for Queensland’s water management||Completed December 2018|
|Create the rural water management program office and team to deliver the commitments made in the Queensland Government response||Completed December 2018|
|Review the existing non-urban water measurement compliance approach and documentation to ensure consistency across policies, procedures and guidelines||2019 to 2020|
|Publish annual performance report||Commenced September 2019|
|Develop and implement an assurance framework that enables us to report on our performance as a non-urban water resource manager and regulator||Early 2021|
Optimised water markets
|Ensure that water that has already been released to market becomes the most efficient means of satisfying demand||2020|
|Make water, identified through the water planning process for use, available to the market||2020|
|Dawson River strategic infrastructure reserve project to deliver temporary water licences||Completed 2019|
|Underutilisation partnership project to deliver the water markets optimisation strategy||2020 to 2021|
- Find out about water management in the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin.
Last reviewed 15 June 2020