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March 3, 2024

Maca farmers and other growers face water sharing compliance checks

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The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) is carrying out on-site inspections this week to maintain water sharing rules PIC supplied

Federal authorities say they’ll be carrying out on-site inspections of properties with irrigated agriculture around Ballina, Casino, and Lismore this week to ensure compliance with water sharing rules.

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) says the properties are under jurisdiction of the Richmond water sharing plan and have been identified using state-of-the-art satellite imagery, water-use records, and compliance history records.

The properties are said to mostly be macadamia farms or to include horticultural greenhouses and feature a mix of dams, pumps, bores, and spearpoints.

NRAR officers are to ensure compliance with water sharing rules, particularly for oversized or unlicensed dams, a media release from the agency said on Monday.

14% of growers failed compliance checks

NRAR Regulatory Initiatives Director Ian Bernard said officers had recently visited the region and found compliance issues including inaccurate record keeping in logbooks or with meters and a lack of knowledge about individual licence conditions.

Water users on the North and Far North Coast were reported as compliant in 86 per cent of NRAR investigations.

‘It’s more important than ever for water users to understand and follow the rules as we head into dry times,’ Mr Bernard said, referring to Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) predictions of long stretches of dry weather in coming months.

‘We’re committed to making sure water is used fairly amongst all who need it,’ Mr Bernard said.

‘Fair water usage is crucial for sustaining communities, industries and the environment that depend on it.’

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