In a compliance campaign, the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) has found that only around a quarter of farms in the Hawkesbury area are fully compliant with NSW water management laws, with pump problems being one of the reasons for formal warnings being sent.
The NRAR campaign, Water take in horticulture in the Hawkesbury–Nepean basin, focused on the Windsor–Richmond area and Bushells Lagoon, where a total of 43 properties were inspected and assessed against conditions on their water access licences and approvals.
NRAR’s Director of Water Regulation (East), Graeme White, said 34 properties were selected along the Hawkesbury River and nine at Bushells Lagoon, where a total of 53 water licences are held.
“While twelve of the 43 properties were fully compliant with water laws, 26 received official cautions due to faulty meters,” Mr White said.
“Another eight received formal warnings over administrative shortfalls such as faulty meters not recording water take accurately, expired approvals and problems with pumps – being too big, located on different properties or having extra pumps.”
On completion of the campaign NRAR contacted the turf farmers and water users’ associations to spread the word on its findings and encourage farmers to complete their own compliance assessments.
“This area supports a large number of horticultural businesses and many of the Sydney Basin’s turf farms are located here,” Mr White said.
“NRAR’s work ensures a level playing field for all these businesses and no one should obtain an unfair advantage by flouting water laws.
“It is in all farmers’ best interests to review our findings as next time, NRAR will not be lenient, especially on those water users with issues previously identified.
“While we would prefer voluntary compliance, we will take action against those who choose not to comply. Each action we take against those not playing fair builds public trust and confidence in water regulation in NSW.”
All landholders with identified non-compliance issues were also required to report to WaterNSW.
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 see the report on Water take in horticulture in the Hawkesbury–Nepean basin, click here.
For more information on the NRAR and the work it does, click here.