- Civic Administration Building
Church Street, Dubbo, NSW, 2830
- Office hours:
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
- Mailing address:
PO Box 81, Dubbo, NSW, 2830
- Telephone: (02) 6801 4000
- Fax: (02) 6801 4259
- Email: Email us today
Water Legislation Information
NSW OFFICE OF WATER & WATER LEGISLATION
The NSW Office of Water website provides information on river management including real-time flow and water quality information. It is also a guide for local water utilities and provides information on best practice management, financial assistance, and technical support to local Councils.
WATER ACT 2007 (COMMONWEALTH)
Under the Commonwealth’s Water Act 2007 the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is tasked with developing a nation water information services. Water utilities throughout Australia are required to forward water data to BOM who will then collate and analyse water information and use it to conduct national water resource assessments and to prepare annual water accounts for the nation.
WATER INDUSTRY COMPETITION ACT 2006
The NSW Government introduced the Water Industry Competition Act 2006 (WICA) as part of its strategy for a sustainable water future to harness the innovation and investment potential of the private sector in the water and wastewater industries. At the same time, the Act establishes a licensing regime for private sector entrants to ensure the continued protection of public health, consumers and the environment. A corporation (other than a public water utility) must now obtain a licence under the Act to construct, maintain or operate any water industry infrastructure or to supply water (potable or non-potable) or provide sewerage services by means of any water industry infrastructure.
The WICA Act does not apply to a publicly owned water/sewerage utility operating in its area of operations. Local Council water utilities, like those of Dubbo City Council, do not have specifically defined areas of operations and so any area in which it operates may be considered its area of operations. Accordingly, WICA does not apply to Council water utility unless the Minister were to declare Council a “monopoly supplier” under the WICA Act. Were this to happen then the Independent Pricing and Regulating Tribunal (IPART) would set the Council’s water/sewerage charges. The WICA is administered by IPART.
PUBLIC HEALTH REGULATION 2012
Changes to public health legislation came into effect in September, 2012. As a supplier of drinking water, Council must establish and adhere to a quality assurance program by September 2014 in accordance with the Public Health Act 2010 and the Public Health Regulations 2012.
Council’s current Drinking Water Policy, adopted in 2009, ensures that a safe and effective supply of high quality drinking water consistently meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and other regulatory requirements.
In accordance with the changes to the public health legislation, Council must make and keep for at least six (6) months a record of:
• the name,
• and telephone number of each water carter to whom they supply drinking water.
Water Carter Requirements
A drinking water carter must make and keep for at least six (6) months a record of:
• The name of the water supplier from which the water carter received drinking water,
• The name and address of each person to whom the water carter supplies water,
• The place, date, time and volume of water supplied to the person,
• Details of any substances other than drinking water transported in any water tank used by the water carter, and
• The dates on which any water tank used by the water carter was cleaned.
The legislation also requires that by 1 September 2014 drinking water carters must develop and adhere to a quality assurance program. A copy of the completed document must be provided to the local Public Health Unit.
Information for Councils and water carters is on the NSW Health website at: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/water/Pages/drinkwater-watercarters.aspx
Contact Council’s Environmental Services Division on (02) 6801 4000 for further information.
WORK HEALTH SAFETY ACT 2011
This Act, and the Work Health Safety Regulation 2011, provides a balanced and nationally consistent framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces.
The Work Health Safety Regulation 2011 details specific requirements for the storage and handling of dangerous goods. Premises on which dangerous goods are stored and handled must abide by strict guidelines. By way of an example, chlorine gas is stored at the John Gilbert Water Treatment Plant, and is required to be stored and handled in accordance with the Regulation.
WATER MANAGEMENT ACT 2000
The objects of this Act are to provide for sustainable and integrated management of the water sources of the State for the benefit of both present and future generations and, in particular:
to apply the principles of ecologically sustainable development, and
to protect, enhance and restore water sources, their associated ecosystems, ecological processes and biological diversity and their water quality, and
to recognise and foster the significant social and economic benefits to the State that result from the sustainable and efflicent use of water including:
i. benefits to the environment, and
ii. benefits to urban communities, agriculture, fisheries, industry and recreation, and
iii. benefits to culture and heritage, and
iv.benefits to the Aboriginal people in relation to their spiritual, social, customary and economic use of land and water
to re cognise the role of the community, as a partner with government, in resolving issues relating to the management of water sources,
to provide for the orderly, efficient and equitable sharing of water from water sources,
to integrate the management of water resources with the management of other aspects of the environment, including the land, its soil, its native vegetation and its native fauna,
to encourage the sharing of responsibility for the sustainable and efficient use of water between the Government and water users,
to encourage best practice in the management and use of water.
The Water Management Act 2000 only has limited application to Dubbo City Council Water/Sewerage businesses.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1993
The main purpose of the Local Government Act 1993 is to provide a legal framework for an effective, efficient, environmentally responsible, and open system of Local Government in NSW. The Act is, in the main, administered by the Minister for Local Government, but the Minister for Land and Water Conservation administers the parts of the Act concerning water, sewerage and drainage.
The Act confers service functions on Councils. These include the provision, management and operation of water supply and sewerage works and facilities. The Act provides Councils with broad power to carry out their functions, and a “Council may do all such things as are supplemented or incidental to, or consequential on, the exercise of its functions” (Section 23 of the Act).
Some particular parts of the Act relating to Water Supply and Sewerage are:
Section 64 –
developer charges (Under this section of the new Act, a Council may levy water and sewerage developer charges. Section 68 – Council approval of pluming works;
Section 634-651 –
water supply, sewerage and drainage offences; and
Water, Sewerage and Drainage Regulation which covers matters from the “old” Ordinances 4.5 and 4.6.
The role of the Minister for Land and Water Conservation in regard to water supply, sewerage and drainage is covered in Section 56-66. These sections include matters such as the construction of works, hand over and testing of work, approval of dams and treatment works, directions to Councils concerning dams and treatment works, actions during emergencies, and the appointment of an administrator.
ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ACTS comprising:
- Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.
- Contaminated Land Management Act 1997.
- Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2001.
- The Environmentally Hazardous Chemicals Act 1985.
These Acts give the Environment Protection Authority the power to control pollution and the disposal of wastes, to protect the environment, and to avoid chemical contamination from both Government and private developments or works. The works affected are those which have the potential to generate significant pollution or environmental damage or which, by their nature, involve complex technical processes. Councils are also given powers to control pollution from smaller industrial and commercial developments and from domestic sources.
INDEPENDENT PRICING AND REGULATORY TRIBUNAL ACT 1992
This Act establishes the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal and enables the Tribunal to determine and advise on prices and pricing policy for government monopoly services. A government monopoly service is a service supplied by a government agency (which may include a local government Council) and declared by the regulation, or the Minister, to be a government monopoly service.
The Tribunal has made determinations on the price of bulk water and prices that can be charged by metropolitan water authority. To date, the Tribunal has only published voluntary guidelines for local government, such as those on pricing principles and a methodology to be adopted in determining developer contributions.
PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT OPERATIONS ACT 1997
The Protection of the Environment Operations Act provides a single licensing arrangement to replace the different licences and approvals under existing separate Acts relating to air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution and waste management. In regard to water and sewerage, Councils may be affected as follows:
• Overflows from sewers (if an overflow is classed as an offence under the act, Council could be subject to substantial penalties. Council should consider obtaining a license for all known and possible overflows.);
• Sludge disposal (if spreading sludge is constituted as an offence under the Act, Council could be subject to a penalty.);
• Effluent disposal (if effluent quality or quantity is outside the license conditions, this may be an offence subject to severe penalties.);
• Trade Wastes to Sewers – two areas of concern are:
• The relationship between a Council and an industry discharging its wastes to sewer (A discharge by the industry of a substance in contravention of the discharge agreement could result in a penalty under the ordinances of up to $1,000 for the industry) and
• The relationship between the EPA and Council being the owner of a sewerage scheme discharging effluent.
CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT AUTHORITIES ACT 2003
The objects of this Act include:
• Providing for proper natural resource planning at a catchment level,
• Ensuring that decisions about natural resources take into account appropriate catchment issues,
• Involving communities in each catchment in decision making and to make best use of catchment knowledge and expertise,
• Ensuring the proper management of natural resources in the social, economic and environmental interests of the State,
• The Act is administered by the Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services jointly with the Minister for Primary Industries.
ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING AND ASSESSMENT ACT 1979
The Environmental Planning and Assessment (EP&A) Act was enacted in 1979, and amended by the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Amendment) Act (2008). The Act is the principal planning instrument in NSW, and it specifies the environmental considerations required in all development activities. It also governs the procedures of all proposals that have an effect on the environment. Its objectives are to encourage the proper management of natural and man-made resources, the orderly use of land, the provision of services, and the protection of the environment.
The Act is administered by the Minister for Planning.
The Act requires that all proposals, activities, and functions which are investigated, designed, planned, constructed, and operated by Councils should be studied during all stages for their environmental impact on the basis of scale, location, and performance.
Environmental studies are to be undertaken concurrently with the technical or planning investigations. The findings of environmental studies should be reported initially in Reviews of Environmental Factors (REF), which indicate the need for further studies, their extent and depth, and the degree of public or other involvement required. The REF can often be used for consents or approvals. A Council can give consents for a development as prescribed in Local Environment Plans (LEP) when the Council are the consent authorities (Part IV of the EP&A Act).
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a comprehensive report compiled from extensive studies. An EIS is required for:
- Designated development (Part IV of the EP&A Act);
- Projects which affect the environment significantly (Part V of the EP&A Act); and
- When designated by a State Environmental Planning Policy or in an LEP
FLUORIDATION OF PUBLIC WORKS SUPPLIES ACT 1957
This Act is covers addition of fluoride to a public water supply by a water supply authority, including a Council.
The Act is administered by the Minister for Health.
Under the Act, approval of the Department of Health is required in order that a Council can add fluoride to a water supply. Once the authority has fluoridated the water supply – the fluoridation may not be discontinued except with the written permission of the Department.
PLUMBING AND DRAINAGE ACT 2011
This Act saw NSW adopt the Plumbing Code of Australia. Also, water utilities such as Sydney Water and the Hunter Water Corporation no longer undertook the role of regulatory plumbing and drainage in their areas of operation. This role is now being undertaken by NSW Fair Trading. NSW Fair Trading is the state's sole plumbing and drainage regulator. Council has been commissioned by NSW Fair Trading to regulate plumbing and drainage work in Dubbo on its behalf.