Barton, Australia --- (METERING.COM) --- December 9, 2009 - A significant step towards a nationally consistent approach to tackling water theft in Australia has been taken with the adoption by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) of a new National Framework on Water Compliance and Enforcement.

Following this agreement, each jurisdiction is now required to develop a plan to increase compliance and enforcement activities for COAG approval in mid-2010.

Further, The Australian government also has committed $60 million to improve water compliance and enforcement activities nationally.

Water theft is not a new phenomenon for Australia, but in some areas, and the Murray Darling Basin in particular, over-allocation combined with drought has led to a significant reduction in availability. As an example 1 percent of the water resources in the Murray-Darling Basin represents an entitlement value of over Aus$200 million (US$180 million).

At its meeting the COAG also agreed to adopt a National Framework for Non-urban Water Metering to improve the accuracy of metering of water extractions, and to complete water sharing plans for all significant water resources.