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Water authorities

A water authority carries out local water activities, including:

  • riverine protection
  • soil erosion control
  • land degradation treatment and prevention
  • management of recreational areas on land it owns or controls.

In prescribed circumstances, a water authority can conduct these activities outside of its authority area.

Water authorities are classified as category 1 or category 2. Category 1 water authorities operate on a much larger scale than category 2 water authorities.

Queensland has two category 1 authorities:

These two authorities report to the Department of Energy and Water Supply.

Category 2 water authorities

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines is responsible for the administration and oversight of category 2 water authorities, established under Chapter 4 of the Water Act 2000.*

To help these authorities comply with their statutory duties, the department

  • provides information about accountability requirements
  • ensures best practice in corporate governance
  • encourages community involvement in making and implementing arrangements for using, conserving and sustainably managing water.

Functions undertaken by the department include:

  • performing the statutory functions of the chief executive as detailed in Chapter 4 of the Water Act
  • managing the statutory appointment of directors
  • tabling the summary of annual reports and financial statements
  • managing the annual capital works borrowing program
  • developing and implementing legislative and non-legislative government policy
  • preparing guidelines and procedures.

If updating their water service provider details, category 2 water authorities need to complete a new 'Service Provider Application Form' (SPA01) available on the Department of Energy and Water Supply website.

* All former water areas and water boards in existence when the Water Act 2000 commenced, continue under the Act as authority areas and water authorities, respectively.

Annual reports

As statutory bodies, category 2 water authorities must provide an annual report and audited financial statements each financial year.

A summary of these reports:

Past annual report summary documents, and related area maps can be viewed in the library catalogue.

Final reports

Category 2 water authorities that have transitioned away from government are required to report on their final period before transition (from 1 July to the last day of their status as a statutory body).

Final reports and audited financial statements are published by the department.

Voting and ballot procedures

In instances where a category 2 water authority needs to conduct a vote or ballot, such as electing directors or requesting its dissolution to convert to an alternative structure, it must follow the applicable procedures under the Water Act 2000.

To begin the process of electing directors to the board:

  • Section 598(2) of the Water Act 2000 specifies that directors that are to be elected must be elected (a) in the way prescribed by regulation; and (b) to the extent the way is not prescribed by regulation—in the way approved by the chief executive.

To conduct a special ballot relating to a request to dissolve:

  • Section 695(3) of the Water Act 2000 specifies that a special ballot must be conducted (a) in the way prescribed by a regulation; and (b) to the extent the way is not prescribed by regulation—in the way approved by the chief executive.

The above two instances are provided for in the voting and ballot procedures for category 2 water authorities (PDF, 287.2KB).

Public interest disclosures

To assist category 2 water authorities in complying with provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010, the department has developed a template procedure for managing public interest disclosures (DOC, 425.0KB).

Further information on public interest disclosures is available at the website of the Office of the Queensland Ombudsman.

Strategic plans

To comply with the provisions of the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009, relevant water authorities have prepared strategic plans (PDF, 1.2MB) and submitted these to the department for publishing.

Further information

Details of individual water authorities are provided in the Department of Premier and Cabinet's register of government bodies established under the Water Act 2000.

Water authorities are also registered service providers and have statutory obligations imposed on them under Chapter 2 of the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008.

For information about development permits, water authorities should contact their local government. Information about water entitlements may be obtained by contacting the local DNRM office.

Contact us

For more information, or to request an area map for a particular category 2 water authority, contact the Manager, Catchment Programs on (07) 3199 7824.


Last updated: 12 May 2017

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines is an economic development agency that enables the productive and responsible use of our natural resources – water, land, mineral and energy resources – to generate wealth and prosperity for current and future generations of Queenslanders.

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