NRAR visits Dubbo and Hillston in next leg of Operation Drawdown

Media release | 28 September 2020

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) begins the next leg of Operation Drawdown this week, targeting bores which appear to be exceeding their extraction limits.

The state’s water regulator began the campaign earlier this year, visiting properties with bores on the Lower Murrumbidgee groundwater source in the Griffith area.

NRAR’s Manager Compliance Monitoring & Audit (West-Murray Darling) Dr Tara Schalk said the main aim of the audit was to determine rates of compliance with bore extraction limits on those groundwater sources.

“Extraction limits are applied to bore licences to ensure fair sharing of what is a limited water resource,” she said.

“This protects the water source, the rights of other water sources and any dependent ecosystems.

“NRAR officers will be on site at Narromine and Dubbo inspecting bores on the Macquarie Groundwater Source and Hillston, and on the Lower Lachlan Groundwater Source.”

Using modern technologies and intelligence streams like drones, satellite imagery, and water accounting, allows NRAR to detect non-compliance quickly and efficiently.

NRAR completed a desktop audit of 226 approvals across the two groundwater sources for this operation. Of those, there were 11 potential instances of excess water extraction. These licence holders have been sent a letter advising them of NRAR’s intention to visit for further assessment during Operation Drawdown.

The Lower Lachlan Groundwater Source in particular is a regulatory priority for NRAR because it supports groundwater-dependent ecosystems.

NRAR officers adhere to all NSW Health COVID-19 guidelines during site visits, to ensure the safety of landholders, the community and themselves.

To make a confidential report on suspected water misuse, contact the NRAR Hotline on 1800 633 362 or email

For more information about NRAR and what it does, visit

Operation Drawdown heads to Dubbo and Hillston next