Changes to the law in NSW has implemented a no meter, no pump policy under the Water Reform Action Plan. Greater penalties now exist for Water Licence holders who do not comply with the obligation to install a properly working meter.
Under the plan, it will be an offence for Water Licence holders to:
- Fail to comply with the conditions of a Water Licence or works approval which requires the installation of a meter;
- Fail to install metering equipment when required;
- Take water from a metered water supply work if the meter is not working properly;
- Interfere with, damage, destroy or disconnect any metering equipment; or
- Fail to keep the required metering records.
In addition, the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) has been established in New South Wales to investigate and enforce meter installation and compliance. NRAR have indeed been active and a number of prosecutions are underway. The NRAR acts on anonymous complaints and have very wide powers of investigation.
The fines vary depending on the severity of the offence. The maximum penalty for a breach is $1.1 million and/or prison terms of two years for an individual and in the case of a continuing offence, a further penalty of $132,000 for each day the penalty continues. For corporations, the maximum penalty is $5.005 million and in the case of a continuing offence, a further penalty of $264,000 for each day the offence continues.
The Commonwealth government has increased funding for water use efficiency projects known as the Murray–Darling Water Infrastructure Program and will provide $1.5 billion dollars funding for water efficiency projects in return for the transfer of an agreed volume of water saved.
The types of eligible projects include:
- Improving irrigational layout and design;
- Permanent planning to improve water efficiencies;
- Computer and automation equipment to help manage farm watering operations;
- Improving and reconfiguring water storage systems including channels/replacing them with piping or close channels.
We have the expertise to assist you in knowing the conditions imposed on your licence, in assisting should you be subject to a NRAR investigation or should you be interested in reviewing water saving projects involving subdivision and transfer of water entitlements, because at Everingham Solomons, Helping You is Our Business.
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