NRAR expands presence in Regional NSW

Media release | 13 August 2020

In a move to increase its capacity to promote compliance and to engage the community, the state’s water regulator has announced a plan to create 25 new jobs in regional NSW this year.

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR), will establish new monitoring teams in Dubbo, Tamworth and Deniliquin by October 2020. These teams will visit properties to observe water management practices and meet with landholders to help them understand their obligations.

Grant Barnes, Chief Regulatory Officer of NRAR said the creation of these roles affirms a commitment to better understand water compliance behaviour and to work closely with water users.

“Water regulation is complex. We need to have more boots on the ground in regional NSW to get a better understanding of water compliance and to help water users understand their obligations,” he said.

“As a modern regulator, NRAR is increasingly becoming evidence based and taking an intelligence-led approach to regulation. We have adopted new technologies such as drones and sonar depth gauges to ensure water compliance and now, we are putting more boots on the ground.

“With an expanded presence across regional NSW, and armed with modern technology, we expect to increase our capacity to conduct site inspections by three times.

“NRAR is creating more opportunities to gather data on compliance levels and to meet with the community face to face. We want to hear what water users have to say and help them to understand their obligations.”

NRAR officers follow all NSW Health COVID-19 guidelines when making site visits. If at any point site inspections become unsafe, NRAR officers will utilise spatial imagery and online data sources to ensure compliance until it is safe to return to the field.

These routine monitoring teams will be part of the 12-month pilot program which will allow the regulator to assess the effectiveness of the program before extending or expanding it into other regional areas.

NRAR’s investigators and compliance officers travel all over the state’s 58 water sharing plan areas, inspecting properties and assessing compliance with water users’ licences and the Water Management Act 2000.

NRAR is currently interviewing candidates for these jobs and plans to have officers fully trained and in the field in October 2020.

To see the work NRAR does, go to its public register on the NRAR website industry.nsw.gov.au/nrar. Go to ‘Reports and data’, then ‘NRAR Public Register’.

To make a confidential report on suspected water misuse, contact the NRAR Hotline on 1800 633 362 or email nrar.enquiries@nrar.nsw.gov.au. For more information about NRAR and what it does, visit industry.nsw.gov.au/nrar