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WaterNSW has an important role in managing the State's water sources. A key part of this responsibility is ensuring compliance with water management legislation to enable the secure and sustainable sharing of water between users.

While most water users follow the rules and meet requirements, some people carry out illegal water activities – sometimes these actions are deliberate and sometimes they happen because people do not know their rights and responsibilities under the legislation. Water theft and harming a water source can threaten water supplies for legitimate water users and harm the environment, and are serious crimes. 

Compliance framework

The WaterNSW Compliance Framework (PDF, 414.2 KB) explains how we work to prevent, detect and stop illegal water activities. This includes:

  • assisting the community to understand their water rights and how to comply with the rules
  • monitoring water related activities to identify potential breaches
  • investigating alleged breaches and taking appropriate enforcement action when a breach occurs.

Help stop illegal water activities

You can also play a role in water compliance. Information you provide could help stop illegal water related activities in your local area.

To make a confidential report, please contact WaterNSW on 1300 662 077 or send an email to

Tuesday 24 April
1,895,757 ML
2,581,749 ML
11,967 ML
1,710 ML
-14,270 ML
Tuesday 24 April