The NSW Office of Water is responsible for 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. Water theft and harming a water source are serious crimes. These breaches can threaten water supplies for legitimate water users and harm the environment.
The Office of Water Compliance Policy (PDF 161 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 action when a breach occurs.
What you need to know about water compliance
Download the factsheets below to find out how compliance with water management laws may apply to you.
- Regulated activities, offences and penalties (PDF 57 KB)
- Compliance powers (PDF 43 KB)
- Monitoring compliance (PDF 43 KB)
- Investigating alleged breaches (PDF 42 KB)
Convictions, warnings and compliance announcements
|22 October||Company and Dorrigo landowner fined for illegal dam (PDF 40 KB)|
The NSW Office of Water today welcomed the recent conviction and fines imposed on Mongrel Developments Pty Ltd and a Dorrigo landowner in the Downing Centre Local Court for the illegal construction and use of a dam
|23 July||Heavy fines imposed on Kyogle landowner for failure to protect a water source (PDF 197 KB)|
The NSW Office of Water today welcomed the recent conviction and fines imposed on a Kyogle landowner in the Kyogle Local Court for failure to protect a water source.
|31 March||Heavy fines imposed on Hillston irrigator who took water without a meter (PDF 188 KB)|
The NSW Office of Water today welcomed the conviction and fine imposed on a Hillston irrigator in the Griffith Local Court earlier this month.
|26 February||North Coast councils keen on protecting our water sources (PDF 200 KB)|
North Coast councils have shown they are keen to help protect our water resources, with Lismore City Council recently hosting a workshop presented by the NSW Office of Water.
|17 February||Drought brings increased water complaints (PDF 204 KB)|
NSW Water Commissioner, David Harriss, today said drought conditions across much of inland NSW have seen an increase in reports from rural landholders about unauthorised water use.
|17 December||Court conviction and fines for illegally constructing works in waterway (PDF 201 KB)|
The NSW Office of Water today welcomed the conviction and fines imposed on a landholder by the Deniliquin Local Court for illegally constructing works across Forest Creek on his property at Conargo, NSW.
|7 March||Court conviction and fines for illegally sinking bores (PDF 196 KB)|
The NSW Office of Water today welcomed the conviction and fines imposed by the Wagga Wagga Local Court for illegally sinking a number of groundwater bores on a property at Nangus, NSW.
|6 December||Water users asked to keep the streams flowing (PDF 188 KB)|
NSW Water Commissioner, David Harriss, reminded all water users and irrigators to keep the streams, creeks and rivers flowing. He advised construction of unauthorised works within NSW waterways is illegal and can have serious consequences.
|28 June||Prosecution for unlawfully taking water costs company director $370,000 (PDF 221 KB)|
NSW Water Commissioner, David Harriss, today welcomed the conviction and fine on a Condobolin farmer relating to taking water unlawfully.
|11 May||Court convicts and fines grazier more than $9,000 for water theft (PDF 197 KB)|
The NSW Office of Water today welcomed the recent conviction and fine imposed on a Condobolin grazier, Shaun Graham Hamilton, by the Condobolin Local Court for illegally taking water.
|2 April||More compliance staff than ever patrolling the State's water supplies (PDF 193 KB)|
NSW Water Commissioner, David Harriss, today announced that the NSW Office of Water had hired 11 new staff to monitor and enforce compliance with NSW water laws to ensure sustainable supplies for all users.
|28 March||Illegal dam court case costs company more than $58,000 (PDF 196 KB)|
The NSW Office of Water today said it welcomed the recent conviction and fine imposed on the company November Foxtrot Sierra Pty Ltd by the Armidale Local Court for failing to comply with a direction to remove an illegal dam on Nowlands Creek.
|13 March||Commissioner warns of severe penalties for constructing levees without approval (PDF 192 KB)|
NSW Water Commissioner, David Harriss, today warned landowners about constructing unauthorised levees or banks.
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. Download the factsheet below to find out more about reporting an alleged breach.
- Help stop illegal water activities (PDF 41 KB)
To make a confidential report, please contact the NSW Office of Water on 1800 633 362 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.