The establishment of a water authority can be a protracted process. The proponents of a proposed water authority would need to submit for the chief executives consideration a proposal which includes:
- the principles of the scheme, general information and other particulars
- evidence of support from scheme participants; and
- other relevant information which may be required by the chief executive.
The proposed scheme would be sufficiently investigated to demonstrate its feasibility as well as financial viability.
As part of the development of a proposal some of the activities to be undertaken by the proponents include:
- preliminary design studies
- planning investigation (including, for example, requirements for development and other approvals, water entitlements)
- cost estimates
- Impact Assessment Study (IAS)
- Environmental Impact Study (EIS)
- application for planning approvals and water entitlements
- financing arrangements; and
- taking legal or other professional advice necessary.
The Water Act 2000 requires public notice be given about the proposal and provides for written submissions to be made and considered before a water authority is formally established.
It is preferred that there be in excess of 12 participating landholders in the scheme.
Proponents should also give consideration to other forms of institutional arrangements for example:
- management by agreement
- co-operative schemes; and
- companies or trusts.
Establishment by regulation of a water authority also means that the authority is a statutory body and subject to various public sector accountability type legislation including for example, the Financial Accountability Act 2009 and the Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangements Act 1982. A water authority is required to prepare annual financial statements for audit by the Auditor-General and an Annual Report which is to be tabled in Parliament. A water authoritys banking, borrowing and investment powers are governed by legislation.
A water authority that owns infrastructure for supplying water or sewerage services must, before commencing to operate, apply for registration under the Water Act 2000 as a service provider.
A water authority receives no funding from the State and all revenue of the authority is derived from its customers and ratepayers within its authority area.
Further information about registered service providers may be obtained from the department's website.