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Independent Reports

Water Data Review

Review of water-related data collections, data infrastructure and capabilities

In September 2019, the Minister for Water, Property and Housing, The Hon. Melinda Pavey MP, requested that the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer review and advise on the adequacy of water-related data collections, infrastructure and capabilities to meet current and future requirements and manage associated risks.

The project was part of an identified need for coordinated, data-driven and cross-agency approaches to effectively respond to water management and security challenges. It is prompted by the question: do we have the right data, of sufficient quality, and in usable form to make well-informed decisions?

The final review, attached below, identified the need for a comprehensive, integrated, open and whole-of-system approach to deliver useable and high-quality data.


The report made three recommendations:

  1. The default position of all NSW water data, collected from both public and private sources, should be ‘open data’ that is publicly available and managed in accordance with the NSW Information Management Framework and relevant standards
  2. A Water Data Custodian is appointed to ensure a ‘whole of system’ and integrated approach is taken to water data. This role should have a reporting line to the CEO Water to provide a degree of authority over data
  3. Consistent with good practice, the roles of data collection and data analysis should, as far as reasonably possible, be functionally separated to ensure decision-making is as objective as possible.

Final Report

Review of water-related data collections, data infrastructure and capabilities