Harrington spearpoints in NRAR's sights

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) has finished a three-month campaign focused on unlawful spearpoints along the Manning River in Harrington.

But Gregory Abood, NRAR’s Director Water Regulation (East), said more work needs to be done to encourage compliance with spearpoints, and that the regulator will return to the area in the coming months.

“Throughout this campaign, we engaged 275 landholders and visited 86 properties that had unauthorised spearpoints,” Mr Abood said.

“Of those 86 spearpoints, 37 are now registered with the licensor WaterNSW, while the remaining 49 are subject to enforcement action.

A spearpoint is a type of bore (water management work) that provides access to groundwater. Unauthorised spearpoints can also contribute to the damage and contamination of aquifers. In some areas acid sulphate soils can present an issue when drilling a spearpoint. Exposure can be harmful to the environment and built structures. It is important that works like spearpoints or bores are assessed by WaterNSW, as water quality, and impacts to the aquifer are looked at during the assessment process.

Landholders who are not fully compliant will be required to either apply for an approval if they want to keep their spearpoints, remove the spearpoint or face enforcement actions, such as penalty notices or legal notices to remove the spearpoint.

“We thank all water users involved in this campaign who worked cooperatively and voluntarily with our staff. We look forward to continuing this important work with the community,” Mr Abood said.

“We believe more spearpoints exist across the Harrington region and that property owners may not be aware of their legal obligations to apply for an approval. We are also monitoring unlicenced drillers operating in the area.” He said without certainty about spearpoint numbers, “it’s difficult to manage a groundwater resource and allocate water fairly and sustainably. Our state’s water laws exist to ensure everyone gets a fair share and only work when everyone plays by the same rules.”

NRAR will continue to visit the Harrington region over the coming months to assess compliance rates for spearpoints and encourage water users to understand their legal obligations.

To see the work NRAR does, visit the NRAR website at industry.nsw.gov.au/nrar. Go to ‘Reports and data’, then ‘NRAR Public Register’.

Make a confidential report on suspected water misuse.

Spearpoint in garden
Spearpoint in garden