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NSW Water Management


Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA)

  • Established as an independent, expertise-based statutory agency
  • Responsible for planning the basin’s water resources, with all planning decisions made in the interest of the basin as a whole
  • Prepares, implements and reviews integrated plans for the sustainable use of the basin’s water resources
  • Operates the Murray River system and efficiently delivers water to users on behalf of partner governments, as well as measuring, monitoring and recording the quality and quantity of the basin’s water resources
  • Provides water rights information to facilitate water trading across the basin.

Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder

  • Manages the Commonwealth’s environmental water holdings so as to protect or restore environmental assets in the Murray Darling Basin and in other areas where environmental water is held.

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

  • Responsible for the management and use of water resources including the National Water Initiative, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan,urban water policy and reform, and water quality improvement
  • Administer the key Commonwealth funding programs relevant to water management reforms. 


Department of Industry—Lands and Water

  • Responsible for surface and groundwater management including ensuring water security for NSW 
  • Ensures equitable sharing of surface and groundwater resources and that water entitlements and allocations are secure and tradeable
  • Manages NSW’s water resources through planning, policy and regulation
  • Leads negotiations with the Commonwealth, including the MDBA and other jurisdictions.


  • The state’s bulk water supplier and operational manager of surface water and groundwater resources
  • Develops and operates infrastructure solutions for water supply security and reliability
  • Conducts customer-facing functions such as the delivery of water and billing. 

Office of Environment & Heritage

  • Manages the state’s environmental water holdings
  • Develop a long-term environmental watering plan as required under the Basin Plan.

Natural Resources Access Regulator (Established 2018)

  • Responsible for compliance and enforcement of NSW water law with powers for investigations and other strategies as part of providing quality regulation
  • Determines when to commence prosecutions or uses other enforcement tools in the event of non-compliance
  • Other functions include:
    - preparing policies and procedures relating to the enforcement powers under natural resources management legislation
    - advising and reporting to the Minister on matters relating to administration of natural resources management legislation 
    - publishing details of convictions in prosecutions
  • the NRAR will initially focus on water regulation,but as it matures other prescribed natural resource management areas may be added.


MI-arrow-green.png NSW Government's Water Reform Action Plan

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