Our policy on non-urban water metering states that where a delegate issues, renews or approves the transfer of a licence to take water in a non-urban situation, the following conditions apply:
- All new licences where the water taken under the licence is to be used for irrigation or commercial purposes must be metered.
- Existing licensed extraction sites must be metered if the licensed volume is:
- 10 megalitres or greater, for surface water; or
- 20 megalitres or greater, for groundwater;
- The obligations in paragraph (a) and (b) do not apply if, in the view of the delegated authority, a meter would be impractical or can be exempted according to the following criteria:
- Cost of metering can be shown to significantly outweigh the benefits;
- Resource management objectives can still be achieved without impacting negatively on the resource, the environment or other users;
- An exemption exists according to the Water Act 1989.
In these cases, the delegate must:
- Document clearly the reasons for its view; and
- Identify a substitute method for estimating the volume of water taken to meet State and Federal water accounting and reporting requirements.
The above requirements do not preclude a delegate from requiring more extensive metering.
The policy document is can be found here:
The cost of metre installation, maintenance and metrological assurance can be substantial. Although these costs are ultimately passed on to water users, it is a business decision by water corporations as to the approach and time taken to meet these costs.