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 aim to 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 Futures progress report (PDF, 3.3MB) to find out what the program has delivered in 2022-23.

Australian Government funding

Rural Water Futures has secured Commonwealth funding to support program delivery. These funds complement the Queensland Government’s pre-existing program funding.

In late 2020 the program received $10.2 million (over 3 years) as part of the Australian Government’s Hydrometric Networks and Remote Sensing (HNRS) Program. These funds are supporting a number of key activities identified in the Murray-Darling Basin Compliance Compact, enabling the department to develop technical and digital capabilities to improve measurement, monitoring, reporting and transparency of water information.

In early 2021, the program secured a further $12.5 million (over 3 years) in Commonwealth funding under the Murray-Darling Basin Communities Investment Package. This investment will support projects to build water measurement and data collection capacity and improve access to water information in the Murray-Darling Basin over the next 3 years. The funding will go towards projects to:

  • test the accuracy and efficiency of water meters
  • evaluate telemetry options and alternative monitoring approaches such as remote sensing
  • subsidise the installation of telemetry in high-risk catchments.

The Queensland Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water (DRDMW) gratefully acknowledges the Australian Government’s financial contribution to the Rural Water Futures Program through the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and the Murray-Darling Basin Communities Investment Package, delivered under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan by the Queensland DRDMW, through funding from the Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

Australian Commonwealth Government coat of arms

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.

Last updated: 26 Oct 2023