Water Regulations Compliance Strategy

More than 200 organisations across Australia are named in the Water Regulations 2008 and required to give specified water information in their possession, custody or control to the Bureau of Meteorology. The Bureau is conscious that when organisations comply with the Water Regulations they incur a cost. We also understand that each named organisation is different in size and complexity, resources, data held, governance and ability to comply. Our approach to compliance recognises these differences.

Our regulatory compliance philosophy

Our preferred approach is to work with data providers and encourage compliance with requirements.

In managing compliance, we will:

  • take a cooperative approach and work with data providers to support compliance
  • provide clear and timely guidance to affected organisations
  • be accountable, transparent and consistent in our interactions with data providers
  • minimise costs where possible, for example by supporting automatic data provision
  • govern changes to requirements under the Water Regulations in accordance with a set of principles and policies
  • take a risk-based approach to non-compliance and use proportionate enforcement actions
  • undertake a process of continuous improvement and review through engagement with data providers.

How we achieve compliance

We help stakeholders comply

We encourage named organisations to become familiar with their requirements under the Water Regulations. Our Water Regulations Online tool produces customised reports that list an organisation's obligations. General information about the regulatory requirements and how to interpret them is also on our website. Tailored assistance and guidance on requirements and delivery of data can be sought directly from our staff through dedicated e-mailboxes:

We engage with our data providers

We engage with data providers to help them understand their obligations and improve our administration. We consult with data providers about changes to their obligations, and keep people informed through meetings, letters and emails. We encourage organisations to subscribe to our regular e-newsletters and other updates about the Improving Water Information Programme to see how their data is benefiting Australia.

Monitoring and enforcement

The Bureau uses a risk based approach for compliance activities.

We routinely monitor compliance and analyse data delivered to the Bureau in accordance with Water Regulations requirements. With a focus on areas of highest business risk we:

  • routinely monitor the extent and frequency of data delivered
  • perform regular individual assessments or 'health checks' of compliance
  • communicate with data providers and seek information from external sources such as other government agencies.

Where we identify potential non-compliance we contact organisations to resolve issues and provide reasonable assistance if needed. All communication is recorded in a Customer Relationship Management system. To ensure a transparent and proportionate response to non-compliance the Bureau employs an escalating response policy set out in the table below:

Initiated Action
As soon as an issue is suspected Contact organisation's nominated person to resolve the issue
3 months after initial contact
(if issue remains unresolved)
Formally request a reason from the organisation's Executive Contact for non-compliance
3 weeks after formal request for a reason
(if issue remains unresolved)
Risk of Breach Notification mailed to the organisation's Executive Contact
6 weeks after Risk of Breach Notification
(if issue remains unresolved)
Branch Head of Water Information Services officially notifies the organisation's Executive Contact of non-compliance

If non-compliance continues the Bureau may recommend enforcement actions to the responsible Minister. Actions may include injunctions, declarations, civil penalties, infringement notices and enforceable undertakings. Any decision to make a recommendation will take into account the nature, impact, and length of non-compliance, aggravating or mitigating circumstances, and actions of good faith from the data provider.

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