Lithgow company faces three charges in Land and Environment Court over bores

Media release | 30 March 2020

A Lithgow company is the subject of the latest prosecution launched by the state’s water regulator.

The company is facing three charges in relation to meters on its bore pumps at its Narrabri Shire cotton farm.

The charges were brought by the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) in the Land and Environment Court on 19 March.

The charges are for contraventions of section 91I(2) or in the alternative s91H(2) of the Water Management Act 2000 for taking water from a water source, the Lower Namoi Groundwater Source, by means of a metered work while it was not operating properly or failing to ensure the metered work was operating properly.

NRAR Chief Regulatory Officer Grant Barnes said that due to the critical nature of NRAR’s work, its officers were continuing their activities of monitoring potentially unlawful water use during the COVID-19 response period, while observing all NSW Health recommendations to ensure the safety of both water users, regional communities and NRAR staff.

Mr Barnes added that with many parts of the state still struggling through the worst drought on record, ensuring fair access to available water is critical.

“Water is a precious and finite resource,” Mr Barnes said. “The prolonged drought has meant more people have been turning to bore water, and in many places groundwater reserves have been dropping at a faster rate. “The Lower Namoi Groundwater Source is a highly utilised system. Many people in that area are reliant on groundwater for town water supply, stock and domestic use, and irrigation.

“This means that properly functioning metering equipment to measure water take and prevent over-extraction is essential.

“Now more than ever, it’s vital that access to water is shared between communities, irrigators, industry and the environment. It’s up to us all to protect our water sources for generations to come,” he said.

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 see the work NRAR does, go to its Public Register on the NRAR website.

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.