About the Rural Water Futures program
Rural Water Futures is changing the way Queensland’s water resources are managed, measured and reported.
We are implementing a range of projects that collectively will deliver:
- a policy to strengthen measurement of all types of non-urban water use
- robust water accounting
- efficient and defensible compliance actions using fit-for-purpose tools
- systems and tools to proactively manage our water in ‘real time’
- efficient and consistent customer-focused processes to manage entitlements
- transparent publication of water resource management information
- optimised trading in suitable locations
- legislation that is simple to interpret and supports our business and our customers
- simplified water plans for consistent application across the state.
Read the Rural Water Management Program progress and performance report (PDF, 1.4MB) to find out what the program has delivered so far.
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 Futures program also addresses commitments made under the National Water Initiative.
Projects and timelines
The following tables provide an overview of key Rural Water Futures 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 strengthened 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 2022|
|Implement the strengthened 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 that sets the direction for transforming the water business, including water information systems to support contemporary, effective and sustainable water management and compliance||Completed December 2019|
|Undertake a statewide review and audit of our hydrometric networks||2019 to August 2021|
|Require resource operations licence holders to report to us on the condition and quality of their hydrometric monitoring networks||Completed August 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 strengthened measurement policy framework||From 2022|
|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 2021|
|Publish annual performance report||Commenced September 2019|
|Develop and implement an assurance (performance excellence) framework that enables us to report on our performance as a non-urban water resource manager and regulator||Early 2021|
Optimised water markets
|Receive recommendations from the Underutilisation Water Partnership Program||Completed 2019|
|Offer available water to the market through unallocated water releases||Various releases completed 2019 - 2020|
|Launch the Water Investor Hotline to improve access to water||Completed 2020|
|Release the action plan (PDF, 653.6KB) under the Queensland Water Markets Optimisation||2021|
|Implement the Queensland Water Markets Optimisation actions||2021 - 2022|
- View information on current and completed unallocated water releases.
- Find out about water management in the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin.
- Read about Queensland’s water planning framework.
Last updated: 10 Jun 2021