The implementation of widespread and standardised metering is arguably one of the most important modern evolutionary steps in Australian water management. However, it is only in the last decade that major nationally coordinated attempts have been made to improve the adequacy, consistency and reporting of non-urban metering. These attempts include two on-going policy reforms, namely the New South Wales Metering Project under the Sustaining the Basin package and the National Framework for Non-Urban Water Metering. The ongoing installation and/or replacement of water meters under these new reforms pose considerable policy and implementation challenges, not least fostering buy-in from water users. This article provides a timely examination of the level of support (or buy-in) from water users regarding metering and metering upgrades. Drawing on data from a recent survey and interviews, the findings identify and reflect on the perceived benefits and issues of concern to water users relating to metering upgrades as they are rolled out in NSW. The results suggest that there is in-principle support for metering and the compliance and on-property management benefits it can provide. However, many lingering barriers to water user support are also identified, including issues of cost, placement, standards and regional variation. The article identifies eight priority areas where government agencies should direct their attention to improve stakeholder buy-in, including metering standards, meter costs, meter benefits, a focused communication strategy, accommodating regional variation, meter location, telemetry and pricing incentives. In so doing, the article fills a key knowledge gap about water metering reforms in Australia.
|Journal||Australasian Journal of Natural Resources Law and Policy|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|