A NSW Government website

What we do

Proactive outreach program

We are committed to making it easy to follow the water management rules. We're also committed to enforcing them when they are broken.

Our community outreach program puts boots on the ground throughout NSW. It is one of the key ways we engage directly with water users to help them better understand and comply with the water rules.

Community outreach drives voluntary compliance

Our Outreach program allows us to hear directly from licence holders about their water management practices. We provide information to help them understand their obligations.

We have established teams in Dubbo, Tamworth, Deniliquin and Albury.  They visit properties across regional NSW, meeting water users on their properties.

These visits are a great way to determine whether users are aware of the rules and are actively following them.

In the first year of this program, we established that more than 70% of property owners were following the water rules.  We confirmed that most people want to do the right thing, and mistakes happen when they don’t know the rules.

A visual overview of our outreach actions

In 2023, NRAR’s Outreach team focused their inspections on the NSW coast.

View the results of the 2023 Outreach program in the dashboard below.

Outreach Visit

What happens on a site visit?

A visit from our Outreach team is a friendly compliance check.  They make sure that what’s on the ground matches what’s in the water licensing system and complies with the NSW water laws. It’s also an opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions about obligations as a water licence holder.

Our officers try to get in contact before they arrive.

During a property visit, our officers will:

  • confirm you have a valid licence or approval
  • check you are taking water according to your approvals and any local restriction
  • confirm all works, pumps and bores are being used in line with their approved purpose
  • make sure your water take is being monitored with metering equipment or a logbook.  It should meet your approval conditions. Or, meet the requirements of the new NSW non-urban water metering framework
  • provide you with educational materials on different topics if you need them.

We take a risk-based approach to enforcing the water laws. If any non-compliance is found, our response will be in line with the seriousness of the breach.

To find out more about how we respond to non-compliance, visit our how we respond to breaches of the law page.


Learn more about the program and what to expect when Outreach officers visit your property

NRAR's Proactive Outreach Program (PDF, 143 KB)

Establishing a baseline

To understand compliance levels in NSW, we ran a program from 2020 to 2021 that employed an extra 30 compliance officers 

The 12-month program provided an opportunity to share handy information with water users to help them follow the rules. For example, keeping accurate records in a logbook or with a meter. Ordering water before pumping, and making sure water pumps and bores are the right size.

Across almost 3,000 audits, we found that more than 70% of NSW water users were following the rules. The program then became a permanent part of our compliance approach.

The findings from this initial statewide program have and continue to help us to:

  • identify when, if, and where education campaigns might help the community understand their legal obligations
  • assess how well our existing operations improve water users’ knowledge of the water laws
  • identify properties or areas where we could act to avoid or reduce harm to water resources and the community.