Metering and measurement
Measuring the water you take helps:
- you understand your water usage to make the most of your entitlements and reduce your overall costs
- the department understand how much water is being used and the impact of licensed abstraction on our important water resources
- the department to make informed decisions about fair and sustainable access to our water resources
- you as the licensee to determine your water use and effectiveness of your water saving measures.
In January 2016, the former Department of Water released the policy Measuring the taking of water. The policy is being implemented in a staged approach over five years (2015-2020).
How is the water you take measured?
Metering is the simplest means of measurement for most situations for the take of groundwater and of surface water pumped directly (through a pipe) from watercourses.
Alternate measurement methods are more likely to be applied for licensed water take from in-stream dams (where metering is not practical) and in situations where the licensed water take requires more comprehensive monitoring (other than just metering) to ensure effective management of the water resource. Alternate measurement methods for surface water may include requirements to undertake dam surveys, install staff gauges, monitor water levels and provide information associated with these activities to the department.
Metering the water you take helps you understand your water usage to make the most of your entitlements and reduce your overall costs
You may be surprised to learn that measuring your water use has many benefits for you as a licensee, as well as providing important information to the department for water management and planning. Water meters are ideal for determining exactly how much water you pump on a regular basis and the rate you’re pumping it.
Keeping an eye on meter readings can also help you:
- keep track of how much of your annual entitlement you’ve used
- understand how efficiently you are managing your irrigation water
- identify potential problems with your irrigation system.
Knowing the numbers will help you figure out the efficiency of your operation and exactly how much water your crops are receiving during each irrigation cycle. It eliminates any guesswork and clearly indicates if you are getting the correct flow out of your pumps.
Water meters can also be used to test your irrigation system’s efficiency by giving you the tools for accurate flow rate analysis. This can help you determine if your pump is delivering the amount of water it was designed to deliver, or if it’s experiencing any problems that are causing increased energy costs and water usage.
A less obvious benefit of metering is the ability to precisely regulate your fertilizer application, through a process known as ‘fertigation’. By applying fertilizer more accurately you can improve plant root growth and overall health, and also reduce your total fertilizer usage. These savings in fertilizer and in pumping costs ultimately mean more money for you and your business.
By increasing your water use efficiency, you may find you can use less water than your allocated entitlement, and you may be able to trade or lease the water you’ve saved. If you wish to trade or lease part or all of your entitlement, you must meter your water use.
You can now submit your meter readings via an online licensing facility Water Online. This is the department’s preferred method of submission.
Metering the water you take helps us make informed decisions about fair and sustainable access to our water resources
The data obtained from meter readings is also used by the department to undertake a number of specialised water resource management and planning activities.
As part of assessing allocation limits for a water resource, the department often creates computer models of the resource. Data from meter readings is used in calibrating these models, and also to help create more realistic model scenarios to forecast future trends in the water resource.
The department carries out water accounting activities every year, and meter data is an important input into this process.
Metering the water you take helps us understand how much water is being used and the impact on our important water resources
Meter readings are used to check compliance with annual licensed entitlements, and where over-use is detected, the department will generally work with you to help you meet your licence conditions.