19th March 2019
Changes to the Water Regulation 2016: Summary of changes to metering and meter validation
The changes are part of the Queensland Government’s Rural Water Management Program (Program).
The Program addresses recommendations from the Independent Audit of Queensland Non-Urban Water Measurement and Compliance, and the Murray-Darling Basin Water Compliance Review.
These reviews highlight the importance of effective water compliance and accurate measuring and recording of water take. A water user’s right to take water carries with it a responsibility to meet particular obligations and conditions. This may include the requirement to install and maintain an approved meter.
A water user must inspect their meter and or recording device each time they submit a meter reading to verify that their meter is not faulty.
If a water user becomes aware at any time that their meter is faulty they must notify the department.
When a water user notifies the department about their faulty meter, they are given up to 60 business days to repair and have the meter validated, provided they maintain records of water taken as required by the department during this period. Records of water taken help the water user demonstrate they are meeting their water entitlement responsibilities.
During this period, the meter is still an approved meter. If it is not possible to meet the timeframe, the water user can apply for a further extension based on their specific circumstances.
Regulation of meter validators
An authorised meter validator is either certified by Irrigation Australia or appointed by the chief executive of the department.
Meter validators are responsible for validating water meters to ensure they meet required standards.
A meter validator issues a validation certificate to confirm that they have inspected a meter and it meets required standards.
For department appointed validators, the department may suspend or cancel the appointment where the validator has:
provided false or misleading information in a certificate, or
been convicted of an offence under the Water Act 2000 (Water Act) or under interstate water law.
Validators certified directly with Irrigation Australia must comply with Irrigation Australia’s code of conduct.
All breaches of the code can be reported to Irrigation Australia. These are dealt with under Irrigation Australia’s complaints procedure. This may result in suspension or cancellation of a meter validator’s certification and removal from Irrigation Australia’s register of certified meter validators.
The department can request a new validation certificate for a meter, where the first certificate:
contains false or misleading information
has been issued by a person who is not an authorised meter validator; or
was issued by an authorised meter validator to validate their own meter.
For this reason, you should always ensure your validator is authorised.
If you receive a request for a new validation certificate, you must submit a new certificate to the department within 60 business days of the date of the request.
If you are not able to submit a new validation certificate by the required date, you may request an extension. The department will consider requests on a case-by-case basis.
If the department does not receive a new validation certificate by the required date, you will no longer be allowed to take water through that meter.
Meter cessation notices
If a water user fails to keep their meter compliant with the non-urban metering standard, the department may issue a meter cessation notice. If a meter is not made compliant within the timeframe given, it will no longer be an approved meter.
Taking water through a meter that is not approved is an offence.
The minimum timeframe from when a notice is issued to when a meter stops being approved is 20 business days.
Once the meter is no longer approved, a water user will need to restart the process to have their meter approved and will not be allowed to take water from a metered entitlement.
For this reason, it is important for water users to check their water meters regularly and ensure they comply with the required standard.
A copy of the Water Regulation is available at: www.legislation.qld.gov.au.
For a guide to metering and to access metering forms, visit www.business.qld.gov.au/water and select ‘water metering in Queensland’.
For more information contact your local business centre. Please refer to www.dnrme.qld.gov.au/contact/water and search for the location and contact details of your nearest office. More information can also be sourced by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or visiting www.business.qld.gov.au/water or www.dnrme.qld.gov.au.
A register of current certified meter validators can be found at www.irrigationaustralia.com.au.