A NSW Government website

About NRAR

How we ensure compliance

We have many methods of finding breaches of water laws. We respond to and investigate reports of alleged breaches. In addition, we have teams of compliance officers across NSW.  They monitor and audit the use of surface water and groundwater. We also use technology to monitor unlawful water take. We use:

  • state-of-the-art satellite imagery,
  • drones,
  • motion-activated surveillance cameras, and
  • intelligent data.

This technology allows us to be anywhere in the state, at any time, with the click of a button.

Our officers have a broad range of powers. They can enter premises and gather evidence, such as photos and samples. They can also require an individual or entity under investigation to provide records and answer questions relating to the investigation.

We are a risk-based regulator.  We approach investigations on a case-by-case basis. We consider a number of factors when determining our approach, including:

  • the potential harm caused to the environment or other water users
  • the offender’s responsibility
  • their compliance history, and
  • their attitude to the non-compliance

Serious, proven and wilful acts of non-compliance will face the full force of the law. We look to educate in cases of ignorant non-compliance that cause minimal harm.

How we operate and investigate

NRAR uses a range of methods to enforce our state’s water laws.

How we respond to breaches of the law

Learn about how NRAR responds when water laws are breached.

How we use technology

Find out more about the range of technologies we use to monitor and assess compliance with water laws.

Proactive outreach program

Here you will find information on NRAR's Outreach Program and how it helps water users to understand and comply with the water rules.


Explore NRAR's active prosecution map and read case studies from past proceedings.

Enforceable undertakings

Find out about this alternative to prosecution and read some case studies.

Penalty notices

Find out about the types of offences that may result in a PN.

Public register  

As part of providing transparent and accountable enforcement of NSW water laws, NRAR publishes the details of its enforcement actions here.