NRAR focuses on unlawful spearpoints in Harrington

Media release | 15 March 2021

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) will be in Harrington, on the Manning River, in March tackling unlawful spearpoints.

After finding unauthorised spearpoints in the Harrington area in late 2020, NRAR officers hand delivered letters to 257 residents in Harrington in January 2021 to explain how to authorise spearpoints or bores.

A spearpoint is a type of bore (water management work) that provides access to groundwater. 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.

Graeme White, Director of Water Regulation (East), NRAR is encouraged to see water users taking steps to authorise their spearpoints after receiving a letter from the regulator.

“We were pleased that WaterNSW reported an increase in inquiries about how to authorise spearpoints and bores from water users in the area,” said Mr White. “A promising number of water users have already become compliant after receiving the letter in January.”

Officers will be returning to check water users’ compliance, but they will also be there to answer any further questions water users may have about becoming compliant or decommissioning their spearpoints.

“Water users can also opt in for updates when they authorise their spearpoints or bores, so they are notified when issues arise that could impact these works,” Mr White said. “Widespread construction means water users can be unaware of environmental and health hazards that come with spearpoints and bores that are unauthorised.”

While Harrington is currently a focus for officers, NRAR believes unauthorised spearpoints and bores are common in the region, and that construction and use is ongoing.

“Anyone hoping to add a spearpoint or bore to their property should make sure the driller has a current NSW driller’s licence of the correct class to construct a basic landholder right (BLR)
spear point or bore.”

Outcomes from this campaign will be available at the end of May 2021.

Water users can find more information on how to authorise their spearpoints and bores on the WaterNSW website.

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’ licenses and the WM Act.

To see the work NRAR does, go to its public register on the NRAR website industry.nsw.gov.au/nrar. Go to ‘Reports and data’, then ‘NRAR Public Register’.

To make a confidential report on suspected water misuse, go to industry.nsw.gov.au/nrar or contact the NRAR Hotline on 1800 633 362 during business hours.