Aither is currently undertaking an independent review of the National Urban Water Utility Performance Reporting Framework. Originating from commitments made under the National Water Initiative, the Framework incorporates the collection, auditing and reporting of performance data from across Australia, published annually in the National Performance Report (NPR) for urban water utilities. Under the Framework, selected urban water utilities report on a broad-ranging set of indicators that includes information and data on their: asset base; customers and customer service; environmental performance; financial operation; service delivery; regulatory compliance; pricing; and sources of water and water use.

The data and reports produced under the Framework each year are an independent and public resource, with potential for use by governments, regulators, urban water utilities and the urban water sector. They provide information that can support regulation, policy development and industry innovation and efficiency. However, there has also been growing recognition that the Framework – now into its second decade – needs to evolve to ensure its ongoing and enduring value.

Aither (including Senior Associate Tom Mollenkopf and sub-consultant Hydrology and Risk Consulting) has been engaged by the Bureau of Meteorology – on behalf of a Review Steering Committee – to undertake the review of the Framework. The review will assist the Bureau in understanding how the Framework’s value is being realised, by whom, and the opportunities that exist to enhance or leverage its value into the future. The objective of the review is to develop, in consultation with stakeholders, a set of evidence-based, actionable recommendations.

Aither has undertaken extensive and widespread consultation with stakeholders across Australia, including interviews in almost every jurisdiction and workshops in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. The high level of interest and participation has been indicative of the strong sense of support for, and value from, the NPR framework that is common amongst the majority of stakeholders. It has also highlighted some recurrent issues and opportunities for improvement, providing Aither’s Review Team with a strong basis for proposing recommendations that will deliver on the key review objective to ensure the Framework meets future needs.

Following a considerable period of consultation and analysis, Aither will provide a draft review report to the Review Steering Committee for their consideration in early June. The recommendations will provide the Bureau and its partners a clear set of actions, informing a work plan that will support the ongoing and lasting value of the NPR Framework.