The rise and fall of water in a dam detected by satellite technology has led to the successful prosecution of a Brewarrina farmer.
The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) launched the prosecution against the farmer and this week a judge handed down a verdict on the case in the NSW Land and Environment Court.
IN a release, the NRAR said the Brewarrina farmer pleaded guilty and now faces fines of more than $57,000, and a further $135,000 in court costs, "for breaching the conditions of their water licence, and illegally pumping at least 734ML of water while a water meter was not working".
NRAR Chief Regulatory Officer Grant Barnes said it was crucial that landholders knew the rules around their water access licence.
"Accurate measurement of how much water is being taken is fundamental to public confidence in the fair and efficient management of water in NSW," Mr Barnes said.
"The landholder admitted to pumping water for about one and half weeks without measuring their water take."
"We then used satellite imagery to show how an almost empty irrigation dam had been refilled and emptied into crops via a canal during the period in question. This gave us a more accurate picture, and evidence, of what happened on the ground," he said.
Justice Rachel Pepper said the landholder's offending conduct had compromised the accuracy of the metering system for the water source, had caused actual harm to the regulatory regime and had undermined public trust in the water management system.
Justice Pepper also said it was the responsibility of the water licence holder to "refrain from taking water until he was satisfied that the water was being taken in accordance with the Water Access Licence."
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