Officers from the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) conducted targeted site inspections at 25 properties across the North Coast of NSW in response to public reports of alleged non-compliance, between February and March 2021.
Graeme White, Director of Regional Water Regulation (West), said he is pleased that more than half (52%) of properties were fully compliant but issues were identified on the remaining properties.
“We are very pleased that half of the properties we inspected were following the rules and that the other properties have been cooperative. However, we expect to see an improvement in compliance levels in the coming months,” Mr White said.
“During our inspections we found that where breaches had occurred, most water users had made unintentional mistakes and were willing to make changes in order to become compliant.
“We have responded to the concerns of the community and we’re taking action to ensure water is shared fairly,” Mr White continued.
“The rules exist to protect our water resources and only work if we all comply with them.”
The 25 inspections took place across Northern NSW including Tweed, Ballina, Casino, Tenterfield, Coffs Harbour, Armidale and Ebor.
Officers found 12 properties (49.5%) required further compliance action. This included four penalty notices of $750 fines, two warning letters and three direction orders including one stop work order and two requests to remove unlawful water works.
Five properties remain under ongoing investigation.
“While we understand water laws are complex, we want water users to ensure they understand the terms and conditions of their licences and approvals before pumping water or starting work on waterfront land.
“We have created helpful resources like our compliance tool that is valuable to water users in understanding their compliance obligations. A little bit of research could help you avoid a fine and ensure everyone gets a fair share of our water.”
To learn find out more about approvals and licence conditions, watch our Know the Rules – licences and approvals video.
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’.