Under the National Water Commission Act, the Commission was required to advise the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on progress towards National Water Initiative objectives and outcomes through biennial assessments. Reports were delivered in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
The amended Act passed in 2012 changed the timeframes for assessments. Future assessments will now take place on a triennial rather than biennial basis, with the next report due in 2014.
2014 triennial assessment
The 2014 assessment will present a comprehensive view of progress in the implementation of the NWI, including subsequent COAG reforms, and make recommendations on actions that governments might take to better achieve national water reform objectives and outcomes.
2011 biennial assessment
The 2011 assessment required the Commission to evaluate the impact of the NWI over the seven years since 2004. This comprehensive report reviewed the extent to which the initiative has improved the sustainable management of Australia's water resources and contributed to the national interest. The assessment also reported on impacts on regional, rural and urban communities.
2009 biennial assessment
This was the Commission's second two-yearly assessment of NWI progress in focused on developments since the 2007 biennial assessment. The assessment also contributed to the public debate on water reform, which had become much wider as a result of drought, climate change, and the urgent need to manage the nation's water resources more efficiently and sustainably, particularly in the Murray-Darling Basin.
2008 update report to COAG
In February 2008, the Commission updated its biennial assessment of water reform progress in a report provided to a newly formed COAG working group considering future water reform priorities. This report, which included additional recommendations for further or faster reform, was included in the COAG Working Group's report on water released on 26 March 2008.
2007 biennial assessment
The first biennial assessment covering the period to the end of March 2007 was released in October 2007. This first assessment found that severe water scarcity, coupled with increased uncertainty about future water availability due to the potential impacts of climate change, has already led to considerable action by Australian governments.2007 biennial assessment