Water Regulator launches two new prosecutions

Media release | 05 February 2020

The state’s water regulator has launched two more prosecutions against landholders for alleged non-compliance with water laws, bringing the total number of prosecutions since the regulator’s inception to 17.

The latest actions brought by the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) cover a range of offences involving water take, activities on waterfront land and dams.

NRAR’s Chief Regulatory Officer Grant Barnes said in light of recent bushfires and the ongoing drought, every drop counts, making NRAR’s role in ensuring compliance with water regulations even more critical.

“During drought the impact of illegal activities on our water supplies, whether it’s water take, works on waterfront land or non-compliant dams, is magnified, hitting other water users and the environment even harder,” Mr Barnes said.

“Most landholders visited by our officers tell us they are glad we are out there enforcing the rules in their area so they can be confident of a level playing field.”

Mr Barnes said all water users have a responsibility to know their water access licence conditions and their water account balances to avoid any potential breaches.

“The onus is on water users to ensure their activities are lawful,” he said. “If you have been found to be non-compliant, you can be assured that NRAR employs a graduated and proportionate approach to any breaches of water laws.”

So far this year, NRAR has commenced two new prosecutions.

A Lane Cove company will come before the Land and Environment Court in relation to unlawful dams, water take and controlled activities in the Mid-Coast Council area with a total of 13 charges including taking water without the appropriate access licence, using and constructing dams without approval, and controlled activities without approval on waterfront land.

The matter will come before the court for a first directions hearing on 21 February 2020.

In Tamworth, NRAR has commenced proceedings against two individual landholders from the Tamworth area. Both face seven charges under the Water Management Act 2000 for contravening the terms and conditions of their access licence on two properties.

Of particular concern are the charges relating to taking water from the Namoi River outside of the flow conditions of their licences in August, October and November 2018. The matter is listed for first mention in the court on 9 March 2020.

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 visit industry.nsw.gov.au/nrar.