Overextracting of bore water in Griffith targeted

NRAR finds overextraction in nine per cent of MIA bores

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A desktop audit by NRAR found nine per cent of bores in the Griffith region were extracting more water than allowed.

A desktop audit by NRAR found nine per cent of bores in the Griffith region were extracting more water than allowed.

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Nine per cent overextracting from bores in Griffith area.

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The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) say a 'desktop audit' found nine per cent of bores in the Griffith area were extracting more water than allowed.

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NRAR will be launching "Operation Drawdown" to focus on water take from bores around the Griffith, Leeton, Coleambally and Darlington Point areas, which draw from the Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater Source.

A statement from NRAR read that for the desktop audit, officers compared the extraction limit on each licence with water take from the bore, as recorded by WaterNSW.

NRAR audited 218 of the 417 water access licences on the Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater Source, finding nine per cent may be over their extraction limit.

Letters are currently being sent out, notifying those audited of the results - whether they have a green tick or a red flag.

Those whose bores appeared non-compliant will be visited by NRAR officers for further assessment.

Director of Regional Water Regulation (West-Murray Darling) Graeme White said this desktop-audit was the first to be conducted in the Western part of the state.

"We picked the Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater because we know it's a high risk area in terms of it being a priority groundwater source and there are dependent ecosystems," Mr White said.

He explained that the breaches of extraction limits were related to take from individual bores not water licence holders' overall entitlement.

"You might have four bores and a licence to take 100 megalitres but on each bore you can only take 30ML per bore per year," Mr White said.

"If you take 60ML from one bore then you would be in breach of the condition even though you're taking less than your overall entitlement.

"Why this is an issue is because you can create local drawdowns and that means that other legitimate water users near you or ecosystems near that bore point may be harmed by the fact you're taking too much water from that particular bore."

He said the consequences of overextraction depended on the individual case and could range from an advisory level or caution, to penalty infringement ($750 for individuals, $1500 for corporations) or licence action prosecution for the most extreme cases.

"I would suspect the result of this campaign would be that we're mostly educating, asking people to ensure they do the right thing," Mr White said.

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