Water Regulator charges three companies and seven people with breaching NSW water laws

Media release | 6 January 2020

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) has charged three companies and seven individuals, taking them to court for alleged breaches of NSW water laws.

Of the five new prosecutions, four relate to taking water outside the flow conditions of water access licences, and one relates to taking water without the relevant licences and approvals.

  1. Two Moree companies will each face nine charges in the Land and Environment Court on 7 February 2020 for allegedly taking water outside the flow conditions of their approvals between December 2016 and May 2017. The alleged offences were under sections 91G(1 or 2) and 91B(2) of the Water Management Act 2000.
  2. The owner and the manager of a property in the Moree area will each face 15 charges in the Land and Environment Court on 7 February 2020, relating to allegedly taking water outside of the flow conditions of their licences. The landowner’s charges relate to alleged contraventions of s60A(4) and s60B(2) of the Water Management Act 2000. The manager’s charges allege contraventions of s60B(1) of the Act. All the offences relate to water take on the Barwon River between December 2016 and April 2017.
  3. A landowner from the Brewarrina area faces a total of five charges in the Land and Environment Court on 14 February 2020. The charges relate to allegedly taking water outside the flow conditions, and metering and logbook offences. Two charges relate to allegedly taking water outside the flow conditions of their approval in December 2016, and other breaches of the approval in April and May 2017, contravening s91G(2) of the Water Management Act 2000. Two charges relate to s60A(4) of the Act when the landowner allegedly failed to keep a logbook of water taken in December 2016, and April and May 2017. The last charge was under s91I(2) of the Act for allegedly taking water while metering equipment was not operating or in the alternative 91H(2) for failing to ensure the proper operation of metering equipment in April and May 2017.
  4. Two landowners of the same property in the Bourke area will be charged with four offences each in the Land and Environment Court on 14 February 2020. Three charges relate to alleged water take outside flow conditions of their approval on 11-13 December 2016, 3-4 May 2017 and 5-7 May 2017. This contravened s91G(2) of the Water Management Act 2000. The last charge relates to allegedly exceeding the water share allocation limit under the licence for the 2016-2017 water year, an offence under s60B(2) of the Act.
  5. Two Ballina individuals and one Gold Coast company were each charged with six offences under the Act for allegedly taking water without the relevant licences and approvals. All three defendants are charged with two counts each of contraventions of s60A(1 or 2), s91A(1) and s91B(1) of the Water Management Act 2000. The case will be heard in Ballina Local Court on 12 February 2020. NRAR’s acting Chief Regulatory Officer Kaia Hodge said these new charges bring the total number of prosecutions to 15 since NRAR began operations in April 2018.

“With the state struggling through the worst drought on record it is especially important that all water users familiarise themselves with their water access licence conditions and their current water account balances to avoid any potential breaches,” Ms Hodge said.

“In times of scarce supply every drop counts, making NRAR’s role in ensuring compliance with water regulations more important than ever.

“We know there is more work to be done and we will continue to make sure the management of our most precious resource is transparent and fair,” she said.

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.

To make a confidential report on suspected water misuse, contact the NRAR Hotline on 1800 633 362 or email nrar.enquiries@nrar.nsw.gov.au.

For more information about NRAR and what it does, visit industry.nsw.gov.au/nrar.