A Lithgow company is facing three charges relating to meters on its bore pumps at a Narrabri shire cotton farm.
The charges have been brought by the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) in the Land and Environment Court on March 19.
The charges relate to contraventions of section 91I(2) or in the alternative s91H(2) of the Water Management Act 2000 for taking water from a water source, the Lower Namoi Groundwater Source, by means of a metered work, while it was not operating properly or failing to ensure the metered work was operating properly.
NRAR chief regulatory officer Grant Barnes said that due to the critical nature of NRAR's work, its officers were continuing their activities of monitoring potentially unlawful water use during the COVID-19 response period.
However, the officers were still observing all NSW Health recommendations to ensure the safety of both water users, regional communities and NRAR staff.
"Water is a precious and finite resource," Mr Barnes said.
"The prolonged drought has meant more people have been turning to bore water, and in many places groundwater reserves have been dropping at a faster rate.
"The Lower Namoi Groundwater Source is a highly utilised system. Many people in that area are reliant on groundwater for town water supply, stock and domestic use, and irrigation."
Mr Barnes said that with many parts of the state still struggling through the worst drought on record, ensuring fair access to available water is critical.
"This means that properly functioning metering equipment to measure water take and prevent over-extraction is essential," he said.
"Now more than ever, it's vital that access to water is shared between communities, irrigators, industry and the environment.
"It's up to us all to protect our water sources for generations to come," he 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.