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

Key projectsTimelines
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

Key projectsTimelines
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

Key projectsTimelines
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

Robust compliance

Key projectsTimelines
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 reportCommenced 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 regulatorEarly 2021

Optimised water markets

Key projectsTimelines
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

Last updated: 10 Jun 2021