A NSW Government website

About NRAR

How we ensure compliance

NRAR has many methods of finding breaches of water laws. In addition to responding to and investigating reports of alleged breaches, we have teams of compliance officers across NSW who actively monitor and audit the use of surface water and groundwater. We also 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.

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

NRAR is a risk-based regulator which means we approach investigations on a case-by-case basis. We consider the potential harm caused to the environment or other water users, the offender’s culpability and compliance history as well as their attitude to the non-compliance.

Serious, substantiated and wilful acts of non-compliance will face the full force of the law. Where non-compliance occurs out of ignorance with minimal harm we will look to educational measures.

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.

Quarterly compliance reports

A snapshot of our compliance activities by region and local government area in the last quarter.