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NSW regulator to assess quarry water management

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The effects of water erosion around New South Wales quarries will be assessed on-site by the state’s Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) in the Northern Rivers, Hunter and Sydney Metro areas.

The aim of the inspections will be to assess compliance with water laws, as poor management can lead to negative outcomes for surrounding environments.

NRAR director of water regulation (east) Graeme White said relevant quarries must hold an access license under the Water Management Act 2000.

“Quarrying can affect local surface water flows and ground water levels, whereas sand and gravel extraction can cause significant erosion and scour within a river channel if poorly managed,” White said.

“These potential impacts can adversely [affect] neighbouring water users and the environment, so it is important that quarry operations comply with the rules.”

New South Wales has 58 water sharing plan areas and the NRAR’s investigators and compliance officers will cover them all to inspect properties for non-compliance.

The last two years have seen the NRAR implement a range of methods to track water use compliance, including satellite imagery, drones and sonar depth gauges, according to the regulator’s Twitter account.

The four factors used by the regulator to decide on potential compliance breaches are the extent of impact and risk, the scale of the offence, public interest, and water users’ attitude towards non-compliance.

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