A Hawkesbury landowner has been prosecuted and pleaded guilty for various breaches under the NSW Water Management Act, resulting from including illegal works and piping to unlawfully tap into a neighbour’s water supply.
The sentencing by the Penrith Local Court followed ongoing investigations by DPI Water and WaterNSW authorities.
Department of Primary Industries, Group Director Water Regulation, Frank Garofalow, said the sentencing serves as a timely reminder to all water users across the State and demonstrates DPI Water’s commitment to taking strong action on those not following the rules.
“The rules set out under the Act are in place to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of water resources for all users,” Mr Garofalow said.
“The actions by this landholder were illegal and had negative impacts on his neighbours’ water supply – which were depleted and subsequently led to a loss of production.
“The illegal works also meant that the water was diverted before reaching the water meter, meaning that the volume of water wasn’t able to be accounted for and taken into account for local water planning.”
The man was ordered to pay court costs totalling $5,000 and was issued with a good behaviour bond.
Water theft and illegal works are serious crimes which can threaten water supplies for legitimate water users and harm the environment.
Under the Act it is an offence for any person to take water without obtaining an access licence or to take water other than from a nominated water supply work.
There are substantial maximum penalties for offences under the Water Management Act, with intentional, negligent and reckless conduct attracting fines of up to $1.1 million.
Source: NSW DPI