Expanded register shows how your area rates in water law compliance

Media release | 25 February 2020

The state’s water regulator has added a new layer to its public register of convictions, allowing the public to see a more complete picture of where and how the regulator has taken action against non-compliant water users.

Until now the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) public register only recorded successful prosecutions of those breaching water laws. Now as part of NRAR’s transparency mandate, the regulator has also added all the penalty notices, directions and enforceable undertakings it has issued.

NRAR has issued 46 penalty notices in the period November 2019 to January 2020.

Chief Regulatory Officer Grant Barnes said the register was expected to provide a general deterrence to those considering water theft, unauthorised waterfront works or other non-compliances, and increase public confidence in NRAR’s enforcement of water laws.

“The register will also educate the community on what sorts of penalties they could face if they breach water laws,” Mr Barnes said. “In the context of the recent bushfires and NSW enduring the worst drought on record, we need everyone on board to ensure fair access to water for all.”

Details on the register include the offence date, the section of the Water Management Act 2000 breached, the enforcement action taken and the local government area and water sharing plan in which the offence occurred.

While prosecutions listed on the register include the entities’ names, the new data, which covers lesser offences, will not include identifying information.

The new data will go back to NRAR’s inception in April 2018, and will be updated monthly.

Two more prosecutions were finalised this week - one in Batemans Bay Local Court where a man was fined a total of $15,000 for the construction of a boat ramp and path and installation of electrical plant on the Clyde River without approval, and the other was from Bathurst Local Court where a man was fined a total of $8000 for unapproved excavations, clearing and deposition of soil on a property near Bathurst.

Mr Barnes said despite recent rains in some areas, the current conditions meant all water users must know their water access licence conditions and their water account balances to avoid any potential breaches.

“In times of scarce supply every drop counts, making NRAR’s role in ensuring compliance with water regulations more important than ever,” he said.

“We know there is more work to be done and we will continue to make sure the management of our most precious resource is transparent and fair.”

The register can be found at industry.nsw.gov.au/nrar. Go to ‘Reports and data’, then ‘NRAR Public Register’.

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.

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. NRAR publishes monthly compliance activities and outputs reports. For more information about NRAR and what it does, visit industry.nsw.gov.au/nrar.

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