Policies and guidelines

Regulatory policy

This sets out the NRAR’s policy for ensuring that water users comply with the legislation. The NRAR will apply this policy to set up regulatory strategies and to effectively and efficiently achieve regulatory outcomes. The NRAR will take a graduated and proportionate approach to non-compliance based on the severity of the non-compliance (its impact on the environment and potential harm to people or property). The NRAR will use discretion in choosing the appropriate regulatory response, striving to achieve fairness in regulatory outcomes while ensuring we act in the public interest.

Download the NRAR Regulatory Policy and NRAR Regulatory Framework

Regulatory priorities

To carry out our compliance functions effectively and efficiently, our activities are prioritised based on an analysis of the impact and likelihood of non-compliance. These risk assessments take into account different types of information such as ecological and hydrological assessments and community reports of potential non-compliance.

We review and update our priorities on an ongoing basis to take into account new developments and improvements in our data and analytical tools.

Floodplain management

The NSW Government is currently implementing the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy as part of broader water management reforms across the Murray-Darling Basin.

The policy aims to:

  • provide clarity and certainty around how floodplain harvesting is managed in NSW
  • protect downstream users and the environment from the effects of unconstrained floodplain harvesting
  • secure the social licence for legitimate floodplain harvesting activities to continue
  • provide a licensing regime that will form the basis for effective compliance and enforcement.

Floodplain harvesting licences and approvals for all five northern basin valleys are scheduled to be in place by July 2021. Find out more about the floodplain harvesting program.

NRAR has provided advice on our compliance approach to the new requirements.

Water metering framework

The NSW Government has released a robust new metering framework for non-urban water meters in NSW, which commenced on 1 December 2018.

The framework will be implemented through a staged roll-out over five years.

NRAR has provided advice on the compliance approach (PDF 166.4 KB) to the new metering regulations.

Prosecution guidelines

These guidelines explain and guide the approach the NRAR takes in determining the appropriate response to non-compliance with the legislation it administers. The NRAR’s power to prosecute the entities it regulates is an important discretionary power and regulatory tool, and in appropriate circumstances, prosecution action will be taken.

Download the NRAR Prosecution Guidelines (PDF 251.5 KB).

Compliance with water legislation guidelines

The purpose of these guidelines is to inform the regulated and wider community on:

  • how to report alleged breaches of the Water Management Act 2000and Water Act 1912to the NRAR
  • what happens if you report an alleged breach to the NRAR
  • how the NRAR will respond to reports of alleged breaches.

Download the NRAR Compliance with water legislation guidelines (PDF 416.0 KB).

Guidelines for controlled activities on waterfront land - Riparian corridors

The NRAR administers the Water Management Act 2000and is required to assess the impact of any activity proposed for waterfront land (called a controlled activity) to minimise the harm done to waterfront land as a result of the work. This means that applicants must obtain a controlled activity approval from the NRAR before starting any work on waterfront land.

Download the NRAR Guidelines for controlled activities on waterfront land – Riparian corridors (PDF 496.0 KB).