Regionalisation and amalgamation of local government water utilities occurred in Victoria in the 1990s, and in South East Qld and Tasmania commencing in 2007. Following these changes, regional Queensland and country NSW remain the last areas in Australia where water services are owned and operated by numerous local governments. Between 2007 and 2013, the Queensland water sector endured one it's most difficult periods with ongoing demographic changes and skill shortages overlain by removal of subsidies, forced amalgamation of local governments in 2008 and chaotic institutional restructuring in SEQ
To avoid poorly planned disruption in the future, the water sector commenced a program of internal review and investigation of options for council-driven water reform in regional Queensland. Since 2007 qldwater and LGAQ have been working collaboratively with local government Service Providers to discuss reform and provide a unified position on the future of the industry. The Local Government 'Future of the Industry Taskforce' was created in this process and questioned wholesale restructure of the regional water sector. The Taskforce developed a list of 10 Principles as a foundation for any future changes that may occur which were adopted by the LGAQ Executive. In June 2010 the work was expanded with the creation of a joint Memorandum of Agreement with the Queensland Government (through the then Department of Energy and Water Supply).
This collaboration was accelerated in 2011 when three concurrent reviews undertaken by different national agencies each concluded that reform was necessary in regional Queensland and country NSW. In response, LGAQ and qldwater formed the Queensland Water Regional Alliances Program in late 2011 with funding support from the Queensland Government to investigate voluntary regionalisation in Queensland. The progress of this successful initiative is reflected in the formation of five regional groups, including three Water Alliances and is mapped in a series of annual progress reports, research projects and list of recent joint initiatives in QWRAP regions.