Appropriate planning is essential for sustainable water utilities. Voluntary planning guidelines have been developed by the state water regulator to assist service providers in undertaking strategic and operational planning. In Queensland, planning undertaken by Service Providers must often be linked with that of the owner local government and both types of planning are subject to complex legislative requirements under the Local Government Act and Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act.
Since 2000, the number of mandatory planning requirements required of Water Service Providers has increased markedly, often replicating elements of the original Total Management Plans (see Regulatory Plans (mandatory Management Plans). A full list of legislative planning requirements has been created by qldwater which is working with the industry and LGAQ to discuss streamlining and reform of the regulatory framework for Service Providers.
In South East Queensland much of the reporting requirements are being subsumed by the new NetServ system. This planning approach is required for town planning and water pricing oversight but is being designed to incorporate as many of the existing plans as possible.
The general planning needs for a Queensland Water Service Provider are summarised in the following diagram (from the DERM Total Management Plan Development Guideline).