A NSW Government website

What we do

Proactive outreach program

We are as committed to making it easy to follow the water management rules as we are 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 and provide information to help them understand their obligations.

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

These visits are a great way to determine whether they’re aware of the rules, and actively following them.

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

Outreach Visit

How does NRAR choose where and who to visit?

  • We have officers based around NSW who travel across the state to conduct their site visits.
  • Properties are chosen randomly, and a visit from the Outreach program does not mean you are suspected of any wrongdoing.

What happens on a site visit?

A visit from our Outreach team is a friendly compliance check to 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 for you to discuss any concerns or questions you have about your obligations as a water licence holder.

Our officers will try to get into contact with you 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
  • ensure your water take is being appropriately monitored with metering equipment or a logbook in line with your approval conditions or the requirements of the new NSW non-urban water metering framework
  • provide you with educational materials on different topics if you require them.

We take a risk-based approach to enforcing the water laws and 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 - understanding compliance in NSW

To create a snapshot of how compliant NSW water users are with the water laws NRAR ran a 12-month long program from 2020-21 and employed an additional 30 compliance officers 

The program provided an opportunity to share handy information with water users to help them follow the rules, such as 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.

From over 2,600 property visits we found that more than 70% of water users across NSW were following these rules, and 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 be necessary to help the community understand their legal obligations
  • assess how effective our existing operations are in improving water users’ knowledge of the water laws
  • identify properties or areas where we may need to act to avoid or reduce harm to our water resources and the community.