Regulator monitors water take by utilities in Sydney, Hunter and Northern Rivers

Media release | 7 July 2020

The state’s independent water regulator is starting inspections of local water utilities which administer town water supplies, as part of a new proactive monitoring campaign to determine their level of compliance with water laws.

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) campaign ‘Operation Reservoir’ will involve compliance officers inspecting 24 local water utilities in the Sydney, Hunter and Northern Rivers areas. They will be checking the utilities’ compliance with key conditions on their water licences and approvals.

Local water utilities hold Specific Purpose Access Licences for town water supplies and may also have water use approvals that restrict the use of this water to town water supply purposes.

Most of these licences also have a requirement to monitor, record and/or report their water use.

NRAR’s Director of Water Regulation (East) Graeme White said Operation Reservoir was about upholding the integrity of the regulatory system and ensuring fair sharing of water and transparency of water use.

“Upholding the purpose of these licences gives us all confidence that our cities and towns have secured water as a priority,” he said.

“Doing this proactive regulatory work now is important. It prepares us for the summer months ahead, when demand is high and supplies may be even more scarce.

“We will be checking both the purpose the water is taken for and how the take is monitored. Reliable measurement of water take is key to transparency and public confidence.

“Our officers are undertaking site inspections in July and will communicate our findings to relevant agencies and stakeholders, and the public.”

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. NRAR officers follow all NSW Health COVID-19 guidelines when making site visits.

To see the work NRAR does, go to its public register on the NRAR. Go to ‘Reports and data’, then ‘NRAR Public Register’.

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

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