NRAR’s regulatory priorities focus on activities, regions or industries that may not be following the water rules or have the potential to cause harm to the environment or the community.
There are two types of priorities:
- annual priorities
- enduring priorities
Our annual priorities
Annual priorities are year-long projects. Each priority can be solved by understanding the problem, supporting industry and making sure laws are obeyed.
Every year, new priorities are set based on:
- patterns that emerge from non-compliance
- how well we can fix a problem within 12 months
- weather forecasts
- what communities and the environment need.
Outlined below are our priorities for 2023-24.
In NSW, about 80% of water that's taken is used to water crops. We'll focus on oversized dams and unapproved water storages used for irrigation purposes. Specifically those that don't have a proper licence or approval. Farm dams, even if small, can have a big impact on water flow during dry years, leaving less water downstream for other users and the environment.
Our satellite (eyes-in-the sky) program helps us locate those who are potentially breaking the water laws. It’s important everyone follows the rules so we can better protect the environment.
Target regions: Murray and Murrumbidgee
How are regulatory priorities chosen?
We consider several factors when selecting regulatory priorities, including but not limited to:
- the level of non-compliance and the impact on environment, community, culture and economy from a particular activity or industry
- the persistence of an issue and our ability to solve it
- the potential to prevent future harm and non-compliance
- the likelihood of the unlawful activity to encourage others to break the rules.
What does a regulatory priority project look like?
Our approach to priority projects can be broken down into four stages:
- Identify: data from internal sources, community reports, licence conditions, water accounts, water allocations, drones and ongoing satellite monitoring are all used in combination to identify areas for NRAR’s focus.
- Understand: intelligence specialists work with compliance teams to capture knowledge and improve our understanding of our chosen priority areas. All information gathered is used to choose the best regulatory tools to solve issues of non-compliance.
- Support: NRAR widely promotes priority areas through communication and education campaigns and may engage with local industry and representative groups to help support those who want to do the right thing and move into compliance.
- Enforce: those who continue to engage in unlawful activity are prioritised for strong enforcement responses. NRAR will act more severely against those who break the law in priority areas.
What priority areas has NRAR focused on in the past?
We review and update our priorities on an ongoing basis to account for new developments in our data and analytical tools. Annual priorities also allow NRAR to be responsive to the evolving needs of the community and the environment.
Previous regulatory priorities can be found below.