WaterNSW welcomes Land and Environment Court decision

WaterNSW welcomes Land and Environment Court decision

19 March 2020

WaterNSW welcomes today’s findings handed down in the NSW Land and Environment Court in relation to a case brought against two prominent irrigators in the Brewarrina region.

The Court found that Peter and Jane Harris illegally extracted water for irrigation from the Barwon River during June 2016 contrary to a condition of their joint water use and water supply approvals under section 91(G) of the Water Management Act 2000 (NSW).

In 2018 WaterNSW commenced legal proceedings against the pair for breaching a condition of their approvals associated with the water licence for Beemery Farm, a property on the Barwon River at Brewarrina. The proceedings were heard by the Court in February 2019.

Following their conviction Mr and Mrs Harris will be sentenced at a separate hearing on a date to be fixed by the Court. They have up to 28 days to appeal the decision.

WaterNSW brought the prosecution after extensive investigations into water management rule breaches in the Barwon-Darling region in north western NSW.

In the 18-month period from July 2016 to April 2018 during which WaterNSW held responsibility for compliance - now the function of the Natural Resource Access Regulator (NRAR) - WaterNSW conducted several detailed investigations, including two matters which resulted in WaterNSW commencing prosecutions in the Land and Environment Court.

WaterNSW CEO, David Harris, said of today’s result:

“Today’s convictions demonstrate the commitment and diligence WaterNSW brought to the role of ensuring that the rules for extracting water were enforced prior to that role being transferred to NRAR”, he said.

“Today’s result should also serve to reassure the broader community that water authorities are serious about managing water resources strictly according to the rules,” he said.

Media contact: Tony Webber 0428 613 478.


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