NRAR wants water users to know the rules

Editorial | 26 April 2021

From our experience with water users on the ground across the state, we know most users want to do the right thing and believe water should be shared fairly and protected.

But often issues arise when water users don’t know the rules.

At the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR), we understand water laws can be complex, and some water users are often confused about who does what in the water space, which can mean some water users find it difficult to access relevant information.

Our Community Benchmarking Survey, as well as other research and anecdotal evidence from our field officers, has revealed the majority of water users want to comply but may not know the rules.

Most water users were focused on how much water they can take and when they can take it – often overlooking the terms and conditions on their licences and approvals.

Not knowing the rules attached to your water licences or approvals is akin to driving your car without knowing the road rules – it could get you into grief that is otherwise completely avoidable.

This approach leaves water users vulnerable to penalties, financial or otherwise, if they are found to have broken water laws, as well as potentially causing harm to the environment.

It also means they are inadvertently taking water that would be available to other water users.

Our ‘Know the Rules’ campaign aims to change that. We want to help water users know where and how to find more information about the rules that are relevant to them.

The campaign kicks off with a short video that explains how water users can take steps towards compliance.

The video reminds water users that licences and approvals aren’t just about how much water they can take and where from, and explains that conditions on licences and approvals can be easily checked on the NSW Water Register located on the WaterNSW website.

Terms and conditions on licences and approvals exist for good reasons. They protect our precious water and ensure it is shared fairly and sustainably.

We don’t make the rules, but we do enforce them. We want water users to know that we are here to provide support and help them understand their obligations.

However, it’s up to water users to know what rules apply to them. The Know the Rules campaign acts as a reminder for water users to revisit their terms and conditions to ensure they are acting within the law.

If you want to view our Know the Rules video, head over to our Twitter and Facebook pages. You can also find them on YouTube. You can also head over to our Know the Rules.

About Tim Gilbert: Tim Gilbert is NRAR’s Director of Capability and Coordination. He has oversight of business planning and reporting, the provision of education and information to the regulated community and the capability of NRAR staff.

About NRAR: NRAR was established in 2018 under the Natural Resources Access Regulator Act 2017 to be an independent, transparent and effective water regulator with total responsibility for the compliance and enforcement of water laws in NSW.

Tim Gilbert - NRAR's Director of Capability and Coordination

Tim Gilbert - NRAR's Director of Capability and Coordination