NSW Government secures $40,000 fine for water theft

Media release | 29 March 2018

The NSW Department of Industry—Lands & Water has successfully prosecuted a Greendale based Nepean River water user in the Parramatta Local Court for the theft in 2015 of water for the irrigation of a commercial vegetable crop.

The Department said the water user was found guilty of four charges brought against him by the Department for offences under the Water Management Act 2000, with the court imposing fines totalling $40,000.

The Department’s compliance team received information in 2015 from a member of the public that a breach of the Act may have occurred. A subsequent site visit revealed the water user had set up infrastructure illegally to take water from the river.

The water user was found to have installed a diversion pipe between the river pump and water meter. The user was instructed to disconnect the unauthorised works which effectively allowed the user to bypass the water metering system.

A stop work order was issued and the pipe disconnected but a follow up inspection revealed the user had reinstalled the diversion pipe.

The Department said the fine imposed in this case should send a strong message to landowners and water users in NSW that compliance with the State’s water management laws is a serious matter for the NSW Government and for the NSW Courts.

The Government has recently established the new independent Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR), a key step in the delivery of the NSW Government’s Water Reform Action Plan released in December 2017.

The NRAR will further increase transparency, accountability, independence and public confidence in compliance and enforcement activities in relation to water management in NSW.

Anyone wishing to report suspected illegal water activities can do so confidentially on 1800 633 362 or by emailing - watercompliance@water.nsw.gov.au