$6600 fines for sinking illegal bores
A DRILLER and a landholder have been convicted and fined a total $6666 for illegally sinking groundwater bores on a property at Nangus, west of Gundagai.
The New South Wales Office of Water says it welcomes the convictions imposed by Wagga Wagga Local Court.
“The magistrate found the driller, Gordon Noel Briggs, guilty of all four charges brought against him, imposing a two-year good behaviour bond and costs totalling $2083,” the New South Wales Office of Water says in a statement.
“The landholder, James Laurence Coe, was also found guilty of the four charges brought against him for the same offences.
“Coe received a two-year good behaviour bond and was ordered to pay a fine and costs totaling $4583.”
NSW Water Commissioner, David Harriss, says the proceedings related to the
sinking of four separate bores at Cooba East Station, Nangus, without
obtaining the relevant licences under the Water Act 1912.
“The illegal actions of the driller and landholder had the potential to impact on
licensed water users, stock and domestic users and the environment by reducing the volume of water in the aquifers underlying surrounding properties,” says Mr Harriss.
He says said Briggs, who held a current drillers’ licence at the time of the offences, knew he needed a licence to sink the bores but failed to obtain one.
“Water theft and the illegal drilling into the state’s aquifers puts the livelihoods of individuals, rural communities and the environment at risk,” says Mr Harriss.
“While the vast majority of water users do the right thing, some people still think they can illegally access water without getting caught.
“(The) ruling shows that the community will not tolerate illegal water-related activities in NSW.”
Mr Harriss says the NSW Office of Water is committed to managing and protecting the state’s water resources in a fair and sensible manner, but would not hesitate to take the appropriate action if people have broken the law including prosecution which could result in substantial fines or even goal terms.
Fines of up to $1.1 million, and/or two years’ gaol can be imposed against
individuals for breaches of NSW water legislation.
“The NSW Office of Water takes all allegations of water breaches seriously and will not hesitate to bring cases to court when warranted,” Mr Harriss says.
Anyone wishing to report suspected illegal water activities can do so confidentially on 1800 633 362 or emailing email@example.com.