A Moree company and irrigators from Mallawa, Walgett and Carinda are set to face the Land and Environment Court for charges relating to various water offences.
The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) – the new independent water regulator in NSW which commenced operations on April 30 – has issued a number of charges in north west NSW for various water offences.
The NRAR chief regulatory officer, Grant Barnes said NSW communities want a fair, transparent and enforceable water compliance system to prevent water theft and ensure equitable water use.
“That’s exactly what we are delivering,” he said.
“Across the state, we have more compliance officers out working with water licence holders to ensure they are aware of their obligations for accessing and using water.
“During drought, protecting this precious resource is vital.”
A Moree company has been charged with water theft offences and will appear in the Land and Environment Court in Sydney on September 7.
It is alleged the company, involved in irrigation, took water from a river while metering equipment was not working, an offence against section 91I(2) of the Water Management Act 2000.
It is further alleged that the company constructed and used a channel to convey water without approval, offences against section 91B or in alternative s91L of the Water Management Act 2000.
The maximum penalty for each offence is $1,100,000.
A Carinda man will also appear before the Land and Environment Court on September 7, charged with using a channel to convey water without approval, an offence against s91B of the Water Management Act 2000.
The maximum penalty for the offence is $247,500.
Two men have also been charged with water theft offences on properties in Walgett and Mallawa.
It is alleged they were involved in taking water from a river while metering equipment was not working. The maximum penalty for each offence is $247,500.
They will appear in the Land and Environment Court in Sydney on September 14.
Meanwhile, a 35-year-old Carinda man will appear in Walgett Local Court on August 24 charged with providing false and misleading information to water investigators.
The maximum penalty in a local court for this offence, against s340A of the Water Management Act 2000, is $22,000.
Mr Barnes said the NRAR is a fair but firm regulator that won’t hesitate to take the appropriate action when breaches of the law occur.
“With widespread drought conditions being experienced across NSW it is especially important that all water users familiarise themselves with their licence conditions and their current water account balances to avoid any potential breaches,” he said.
To contact the NRAR Hotline and make a report call 1800 633 362.
For further information about NRAR and the work they do visit https://www.industry.nsw.gov.au/natural-resources-access-regulator.