Water Regulations Background

In 2007, Australia's water information base was in poor shape and deteriorating because of a lack of investment and inefficiencies in the way it was managed across more than 200 different data collecting agencies nationwide.

Under the Australian Government's Improving Water Information Program, the Bureau of Meteorology was provided with ten-year's funding to develop a national water information service that would accurately monitor, assess and forecast the availability, condition and use of our water resources.

In December 2016, the Australian Government provided ongoing funding for the Bureau to continue its water information functions.

These functions, set out in The Water Act 2007, are in addition to our weather and climate functions. They include:

  • collecting, holding, managing, interpreting and disseminating Australia's water information
  • providing regular reports on the status of Australia's water resources and patterns of usage of those resources
  • providing regular forecasts on the future availability of Australia's water resources
  • compiling and maintaining water accounts for Australia, including a National Water Account

To enable the Bureau to perform these functions, the Act requires certain organisations to give water information to the Bureau.

Why a national water information service?

The aim of a national water information service is to create a solid foundation for future water policies and management actions. Water information gathered by the Bureau allows us to accurately monitor, assess and forecast the availability, condition and use of Australia’s water resources.

Other benefits include:

  • increased transparency of water information underpinning water policies and management decisions
  • consistent national information to benchmark the performance of managed water systems
  • public disclosure of water entitlements, allocations, trades and use, improving the performance of water markets
  • improved water availability forecasts, leading to greater certainty in water resources planning
  • improved community understanding of water resources management.


To see how the water information service has developed view our annual progress reports.

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