A Moree company operating in the Brewarrina local government area has been fined a total of $252,000 in the Land and Environment Court.
In a case brought by the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR), the company was convicted of constructing and using a channel to convey water without approval, a breach of section 91B(1) of the Water Management Act 2000.
NRAR’s Chief Regulatory Officer Grant Barnes said the regulator takes strong action when required and does not make the decision to prosecute lightly.
“In times of scarce supply every drop counts, and we will continue to take strong regulatory action when required to deliver effective, transparent and accountable enforcement of our water laws,” he said.
In his judgement, Justice Moore noted that where a substantial, cotton-growing enterprise has constructed unlawful works as part of its business activities, a strong deterrence message must be sent to all water users.
Constructed in July-August 2015, the unlawful channel was approximately two kilometres long and 30 metres in total width, and was allegedly conveying water pumped from the Macquarie River.
The company will also be required to publish a public notice outlining the judgement in both The Land and the Moree Champion.
The offence carries a maximum penalty of $1.1m.
View the judgement.
NRAR’s investigators and compliance officers travel all over the state’s 58 water sharing plan areas, inspecting properties and assessing compliance with water users’ licences and the Water Management Act 2000.