Water regulator commences 10th prosecution

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) has reached double figures in prosecutions commenced against those allegedly breaking the state’s water laws.

NRAR began an action on 27 August 2019 against an individual who it alleges undertook unlawful works on the Clyde River at Benandarah (near Batemans Bay) between June 2016 and February 2018.

The individual is facing four charges of carrying out a controlled activity without approval, an offence under s91E of the Water Management Act 2000.

Controlled activities are works carried out on, or within 40m of, a waterway.

The charges were for:

  • constructing an access path and boat ramp
  • removal of material (soil, sand, gravel and dredged material in connection with the path and ramp)
  • removal of vegetation (in connection with the above structures)
  • deposition of material (soil, sand, gravel, dredged materials, slump concrete, concrete blocks, turf and top soil in connection with the above structures).

The maximum penalty in the Local Court for each offence is $22,000.

NRAR takes prosecution action in the most serious cases. Since its establishment in 2018 NRAR has commenced nine other prosecutions, three in the Land and Environment Court and six in the Local Court.

Three of these cases relate to allegations of large scale unlawful water take.

Three of the prosecutions have been finalised, with the defendants paying substantial fines. There are now seven cases still before the court.

In the first half of 2019 NRAR has also issued 18 penalty notices – 12 to individuals and six to companies – and 21 directions. The directions were mainly stop work orders, install and maintain metering equipment and protect a water source.

NRAR’s investigators and compliance officers travel all over the state’s 57 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. For more information about NRAR and what it does, visit industry.nsw.gov.au/nrar.