The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR), the state’s water regulator has completed ‘Operation Yadhala Mil’, auditing 21 properties in the Barwon-Darling region from Bourke to Mungindi in a proactive campaign to ensure water users understand their rights and responsibilities as approval and licence holders.
Most landowners welcomed inspections by NRAR and were pleased to see the regulator had ‘boots on the ground’ undertaking property audits in line with water management work approvals and licences.
The Audit officers found that many water users were not fully compliant in all aspects of their works approvals, in particular record keeping responsibilities. NRAR will continue working with these landholders to help them so they are compliant to commence pumping when the rains and opportunity comes.
Director Regional Water Regulation (West-Murray Darling) Graeme White said in a time of drought, knowing the rules and protecting our water resources was even more critical.
“While the risk of harm of this type of non-compliance is low and may not have an environmental impact, it is important for all water users to know their licence and approval conditions. We need to encourage water users to know, understand and adhere to the rules to ensure that matters of non-compliance do not lead to harm to other water users and the environment,” Mr White said.
“We have more officers working across the state with water licence holders to ensure they are aware of their obligations for accessing and using water. Campaigns like this provide the opportunity for education – which is fundamental to improved voluntary compliance.”
Additional campaigns are planned for the Barwon-Darling in early 2020, to reach more water users and make sure the message of compliance is clear.
NRAR is conducting an increasing number of proactive compliance campaigns like Yadhala Mil, in an effort to prevent large scale non-compliance and provide more effective and efficient regulation.
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.