A NSW Government website


About NRAR

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) ensures water is used lawfully and that all communities, and the environment get a fair share. Water is for everyone.

Established under the Natural Resources Access Regulator Act 2017 (NRAR Act), we were created to deliver effective, transparent and accountable enforcement of the laws. NRAR also works to maintain public confidence in the enforcement of those laws.

We have an independent board which is appointed by, and reports to, the Minister for Water, but we are an independent water regulator. Any directions by the Minister must be made according to the provisions of the NRAR Act and must be published on the department’s website.

Who we are

NRAR is an independent water regulator which oversees the enforcement of water management laws in NSW. We also engage with water users, industry bodies, government departments and the wider community on matters relating to compliance.

What we do

Before NRAR, the likelihood of being caught and facing the consequences of breaking the water rules in NSW was low. Rules were often broken. Communities and the environment weren’t getting a fair share. The public had lost faith in the willingness and ability of the Government to ensure water was shared fairly and something needed to be done.

Our establishment in 2018 turned things around. Our primary function is to investigate alleged breaches of water law and issue directions and penalties where appropriate when water users have not complied with water laws. We also provide education and guidance to water users to encourage voluntary compliance.

How we ensure compliance

We have officers on the ground across NSW and use technology including state-of-the-art satellite imagery, drones, motion-activated surveillance cameras and intelligent data to monitor unlawful water take. Our technology allows us to be anywhere in the state at any time, with the click of a button.

We regularly meet with water users and industry bodies to keep them informed about our activities and help them understand their obligations under the water laws. We also provide a range of educational materials to help water users understand their responsibilities under the law.

Our regulatory priorities

We publish our regulatory priorities to show how and where we focus our efforts to ensure our water laws are followed.