Our organisation

About Rous County Council

Who are we?

Rous County Council is a county council constituted under the Local Government Act 1993.  County Councils are different to local councils; they are specifically set up or delegated to provide one or more functions of a local council.  This means that they have quite specific functions that they undertake for the local councils of the areas within which they operate.  These Councils are referred to as ‘constituent councils’.

Rous County Council has three main functions:

Bulk water supply

It is the regional water supply authority providing water in bulk to the Council areas of: Ballina (excluding Wardell); Byron (excluding Mullumbimby); Lismore (excluding Nimbin); and Richmond Valley (excluding land to the west of Coraki).  The regional supply network includes approximately 40,100 connections within the reticulation areas of these constituent Councils, and around 2,030 retail connections to the Rous County Council trunk main system. A population of around 100,000 is serviced by this water supply system with the actual area of operations being approximately 3,000km2. The principal source of our supply network is Rocky Creek Dam, situated 25 kilometres north of Lismore near the village of Dunoon.

Weed biosecurity

Council undertakes a wide range of activities to combat the spread of noxious weeds across the local government areas of Ballina, Byron, Lismore and Richmond Valley.  Council also does this on behalf of Kyogle and Tweed Shire as part of a fee for service arrangement.  Council is the Local Control Authority responsible for administering the Noxious Weeds Act 1993.

Flood mitigation

Council is a flood mitigation authority operating across the local government areas of Ballina, Byron, Lismore and Richmond Valley.  It is responsible for the construction and replacement of flood mitigation infrastructure including the routine maintenance of various canals and floodgates and related natural resource management activities.

A proud history

Prior to 1 July 2016 there were three separately constituted county councils servicing the northern rivers region:

  • Rous County Council (trading as Rous Water): bulk water supply
  • Far North Coast County Council (trading as Far North Coast Weeds): noxious weeds
  • Richmond River County Council: flood mitigation.

Rous County Council, which was the larger of the three counties, operated under a service level agreement with Far North Coast County Council and Richmond River County Council to provide all administrative, governance, human resources, IT and support services.

The counties recognised the need for reform and the opportunity to rationalise and consolidate.  This change, among other things, eliminated triplicate processes across a broad range of areas, particularly statutory reporting and compliance.

By proclamation of the NSW Governor, effective 1 July 2016, Far North Coast County Council and Richmond River County Council were dissolved.  The functions and operations of Richmond River County Council were subsequently transferred to Rous County Council.  For Far North Coast County Council, their functions and operations in the Ballina, Byron, Lismore City and Richmond Valley local government areas transferred to Rous County Council.  Their functions and operations in the Kyogle and Tweed Shire were transferred to those respective councils.  Both Kyogle and Tweed Shire Council now utilise Rous County Council under a service level agreement to deliver their weed biosecurity services.

What else do we do?

Council has a range of commercial property interests as well as owning and operating its own water laboratory in Lismore, Richmond Water Laboratories.

Organisational structure

The day to day running of Rous County Council is the responsibility of the General Manager, who, with Managers and staff, act on Council's decisions by developing and putting into practice Council policies and resolutions. The role of the General Manager is to provide overall strategic direction, leadership and coordination of the organisation.