Water and sewerage services
Under the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008, a water service includes:
- water harvesting or collection (e.g. dams, weirs, bores and direct extraction from watercourses)
- the transmission of water
- the reticulation of water
- drainage infrastructure other than for stormwater drainage
- water treatment and recycling.
Water service providers
In Queensland, water service providers include:
- drinking water service providers (mainly local governments)
- recycled water providers (who are not required to register as a service provider unless they also provide another water or sewerage service)
- bulk water service providers and water authorities.
Bulk water providers, such as Seqwater and Sunwater, generally provide water to water service providers (typically local councils) as the source of their drinking water supplies. The bulk water provided by Seqwater to drinking water service providers in South East Queensland is treated.
Water authorities are divided into Category 1 and Category 2. Category 1 water authorities (Gladstone Area Water Board and Mount Isa Water Board) also provide water to water service providers for drinking water. Category 1 water authorities operate on a much larger scale than Category 2 water authorities.
Both categories are overseen by the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water.
Sewerage service providers
A sewerage service includes:
- the collection of sewage
- the transmission of sewage
- the treatment of sewage
- the disposal of sewage or treated effluent.
In Queensland, sewerage services are mostly provided by local councils in conjunction with water services. Sewerage service providers must manage risks to public health and safety, and the environment, while meeting customer service standards. To do this, sewerage service providers work within several legislative frameworks.
Sewage treatment is classed as an environmentally relevant activity (ERA) under the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019. This requires sewerage service providers to apply for environmental authority through the Department of Environment and Science, and adhere to registration, testing and reporting requirements.
Sewerage service providers also must register with, and report to, the water supply regulator, as detailed below.
Role of the water supply regulator
The water supply regulator (i.e. the Director-General of the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water) is responsible for regulating:
- water and sewerage service provider performance
- drinking water quality and provision
- recycled water schemes
- the security and continuity of water supplies.
The regulator provides a framework for regulated service providers including:
- registration of water and sewerage providers
- monitoring the implementation of drinking water quality management plans through annual drinking water quality management plan reporting and site assessments
- monitoring of ongoing drinking water quality incident reporting and management
- monitoring of ongoing recycled water quality incident reporting and management
- monitoring the security and continuity of water supplies
- using investigations, improvement plans and notices as required to manage risks to the continued supply of safe water and sewerage services.
The department ensures that these systems are managed effectively and that regulated water and sewerage service organisations understand and adhere to their obligations.
The compliance framework and strategy set out the core principles that guide effective regulation.
- Read more about water service provider obligations.
- Last reviewed: 23 Aug 2021
- Last updated: 23 Aug 2021