North Coast


The Natural Resources Access Regulator’s (NRAR) latest quarterly report shows the North Coast was a focus area for the regulator between October and December 2021.

Gregory Abood, Director of Water Regulation (East) at NRAR, said the North Coast results show enforcement continued despite the pandemic and adverse weather conditions.

“The highest number of investigations were concluded in the North Coast region (45) between October and December, ahead of Namoi where 37 were finalised,” said Mr Abood.

“NRAR commenced 23 investigations in the North Coast, behind Murray with 24 and Namoi with 28.”

“The most enforcement actions statewide occurred in the North Coast (28), well ahead of Namoi (11).”

“Three penalty notices were issued in North Coast region, along with 18 statutory notices and seven formal warnings. The result is a clear indication that we will continue to enforce water laws to ensure fairness to those who comply,” Mr Abood said.

Two of the formal warnings involved an alleged incident in an area south of Grafton.

NRAR received a report from the public about an earthmoving project that had used large amounts of soil and other landfill materials to create a creek crossing for cars, trail bikes and other vehicles.

During NRAR’s investigation, it became evident that the crossing had been in place for some time and there was no impact on water flow in the creek or to dams downstream. However, approvals had not been issued for the construction. 

“Two formal warnings were issued to a landholder for carrying out controlled activity without controlled activity approval,” Mr Abood said.

“Wherever possible, NRAR strives to educate and encourage and in this particular matter, the issuing of the formal warnings plus advice and information about seeking work approvals was an appropriate response to bring the landholder into compliance.”

“In 2022, NRAR remains focused on metering, bore extraction limits, overdrawn accounts and irrigated agriculture.”

“To ensure compliance with these four annual priorities, we will be conducting ongoing on-site and remote monitoring work across the state.”

“On the North Coast we will focus on irrigated agriculture and whether water users are measuring what they take lawfully and are taking within their allocation,” said Mr Abood.

Across NSW during October to December 2021, NRAR:

  • inspected a total of 207 properties
  • issued 79 enforcement actions
  • finalised 238 investigations, and
  • commenced 206 investigations.

NRAR’s digital reporting tool divides NSW into 14 water management regions: Barwon-Darling and West, Murrumbidgee, Murray, Clyde, Lachlan, Macquarie-Castlereagh, Namoi, Gwydir, Border Rivers, North Coast, Far North Coast, Hunter, Central Coast, and Greater Metropolitan.