Why are meters important?

Water meters play a vital role in enabling compliance with the Water Act 1989 as they allow water users and water corporations to accurately measure how much water is taken and water corporations to account for the distribution and use of water.

Telemetry enhances the value of meters as a compliance tool as it provides real time data which can be used by water corporations to more regularly monitor and enforce compliance with entitlement conditions.

How many non-urban meters are there in Victoria?

Non-urban water meters are meters in a non-urban setting used for the purpose of monitoring of compliance with water entitlements and for related resource management activities. Non-urban meters do not include:

  • stream gauging stations or groundwater infrastructure used for resource monitoring; or
  • meters used in urban supply and distribution systems where water is treated to a potable standard.

Victoria has been an early adopter of non-urban water metering and national leaders in adopting telemetry and automated control systems.  

As of September 2019, there are approximately 57,400 non-urban water meters in Victoria. Most water extracted in Victoria is monitored by existing telemetry, which has been installed on about 52% (or 30,054) of these meters.  

Water corporations are expanding the use of meters and telemetry under their metering action plans.  

Who owns, maintains and reads non-urban meters in Victoria?

In Victoria, water corporations with rural customers own, maintain and read meters. Water corporations are responsible for making decisions about whether a meter is needed and for selecting metering and telemetry systems, in accordance with Victoria’s Non-urban Water Metering Policy.  

What is Victoria’s policy for non-urban water metering?

Victoria’s policy on non-urban water metering was revised in March 2020 to align with the requirements of the Murray-Basin Compliance Compact.

The purpose of the Policy is to provide assurance that water taken under entitlements is accurately and comprehensively metered, considering risks to water resources and the relative costs and benefits of metering, so that water users and the community can be confident about Victoria’s water resource management and accounting.

This Policy replaces the 2014 non-urban metering policy and 2010 state-wide implementation plan. The Policy proposes some minor changes to align with current metering practices and the Murray-Darling Basin Compact however existing water corporation metering practices will largely continue.  

The Policy sets requirements for water corporations with rural customers to prepare metering action plans.

Download the Non-urban Water Metering Policy

This state-wide policy applies to non-urban water meters of water corporations with rural customers. The Policy states that:

  1. all new or upgraded extraction sites are to be metered with an AS4747 compliant meter and meters on existing extraction sites are to be replaced at the end of their operational life with an AS4747 compliant meter;
  2. this metering requirement can be varied by the water corporation in circumstances where the risks are manageable; costs are disproportionate to benefits; or the site requires hydrometric monitoring standards to be applied;
  3. water corporations must read meters on operational service points based on risk with a minimum standard of at least once a year on low volume or low risk customers, and at least two times per year for surface water winter-fill licences and more frequently on high risk meters;
  4. meters that comply with neither an interim/contemporary standard or AS4747 should be replaced by June 2025. In doing so water corporations should consider the circumstances the Policy provides for varying metering requirements; and
  5. Metered water take is to be telemetered by June 2025, based on the water corporation’s assessment of the full range of costs and benefits including benefits of stronger compliance. Water corporations may retain manual meter reading where telemetry is not viable (e.g. in valleys with poor reception or difficult sites), or an alternative technology can be applied.  

Water corporations are required to prepare, implement and maintain metering action plans that will detail how each water corporation meets the requirements in the Policy, providing clarity about metering, maintenance and data requirements in their respective jurisdictions.

For more information:

Contact your local rural water corporation for more information about non-urban water meters.

Page last updated: 01/04/20