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Progress and outcomes

Compliance and enforcement reports and tools

NRAR was created to strengthen the enforcement of NSW water laws, backed up by a significant increase in numbers of compliance officers on the ground throughout the state. Our front line staff are delivering a fair, transparent and enforceable water compliance system aimed at protecting waterways and preventing water take through targeted investigations, monitoring and auditing.

We have a range of responses to breaches of water laws, including issuing stop work orders, directions to restore river banks, directions to remove illegal structures such as dams, and directions to install meters. NRAR can also issue cautions and penalty notices, or start legal proceedings after investigating potential breaches of water laws.

As well as reactive work - responding to reports of alleged breaches of water laws - NRAR compliance officers also do proactive work. This includes determining the need for inspection campaigns in certain areas based on intelligence gathered, and general inspection of properties to assess if water users are complying with their licences and approvals.

Proactive compliance sector reports

NRAR's proactive inspection campaigns target areas or industries where we have reason to believe there could be a particular need, based on reports received and our own research. By visiting properties our officers can determine the level of compliance with water laws in that area. Here are our most recent campaign reports.

  • The Water-take in Horticulture in the Hawkesbury-Nepean basin campaign assessed the level of compliance with conditions in water-access licences (WALs) and approvals within the horticulture sector in the Hawkesbury-Nepean region. Download and view the campaign report.
  • The lower Namoi and Macquarie s324 operation campaign assessed the level of compliance with a temporary water restriction in March 2019. Download and view the campaign report.
  • The pilot Barwon, Darling campaign assessed compliance with water rules in September 2019. Download and view the campaign report.
  • Operation Drawdown assessed compliance with bore extraction limits detailed within water supply works approvals. Download and view the campaign report.

Expert reports

NRAR sometimes commissions strategic intelligence reports from experts in different areas to help plan our regulatory activities. These reports on the issues affecting the NSW water sector may be made public to provide additional information for water users to see the types of information that NRAR reviews uses to help prioritise our activities.

NSW water register

When NRAR has determined that water has been unlawfully taken, the Minister for Water may charge that person for the value of that water. This power was established under section 60G of the Water Management Act 2000 and clause 20 of the Water Management (General) Regulation 2018. NRAR uses the NSW water register, kept by WaterNSW, to calculate the value of the unlawfully taken water from trading price data.

The NSW water register includes water allocation trading price data since 2014–15. The trading of water allocations, being the water allocation under a water access licence available to be traded in a water year, is known as a water allocation assignment in the NSW Water Register. Trading price data means data about assignments of water allocations between access licences occurring in any month, but not any other dealings.

This dashboard is a tool to analyse volumes and prices of water allocations and entitlements being traded.