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Vineyard owner pleads guilty to eight charges of unlawful water take

Media release | 23 July 2019

The owner of a vineyard on the NSW-Victorian border has pleaded guilty in the Land and Environment Court to unlawfully taking 1378 megalitres of water from the Murray River.

The landholder in Wentworth LGA pleaded guilty to all eight charges of taking water from a watercourse without an allocation, a breach of section 60C(2) of the Water Management Act 2000.

The water was allegedly unlawfully taken between April 2016 and March 2019.

The case was brought before the court by the Natural Resources Access Regulator, the independent water regulator in NSW.

NRAR CRO Grant Barnes said the case underscored the importance of NSW having an independent regulator that ensures fair water use for all.

“We know the people of NSW want a fair, transparent and enforceable water compliance regime to prevent unlawful water take and ensure equitable water use, and that is what NRAR is delivering,” he said.

The sentencing hearing is listed for 19-20 November 2019.

The NRAR’s investigators and compliance officers travel all over the state’s 57 watersharing plan areas, inspecting properties and assessing compliance with water users’ licences and the Water Management Act 2000.

To make a confidential report on suspected water misuse, contact the NRAR Hotline on 1800 633 362 or email nrar.enquiries@nrar.nsw.gov.au.

For further information about NRAR and what it does.