Namoi Valley Irrigators and Compulsory Water Embargo (Section 324 Order)
A decent rainfall event occurred on 30 March 2019, resulting in inflows to the Peel, Namoi and Macquarie River catchments that led to flows throughout the Namoi Valley and subsequent availability of unregulated water extraction.
A voluntary pumping embargo was issued by Namoi Water, following the good rainfall on Saturday 30 March 2019. A compulsory embargo was later issued on Sunday 31 March 2019 by the NSW Government. A number of allegations have subsequently been made alleging that several irrigators broke the compulsory embargo and operated pumps.
Namoi Water has labelled the pumping allegations unjust, and said irrigators were not sent proper notification or communication of an official Government embargo.
While there were local radio announcements of the changes, Namoi Water executive officer Jon-Maree Baker said there was no other form of correspondence provided to irrigators.
Ms Baker also said there had never been an unregulated pumping embargo in the Namoi before, and irrigators in the valley were still yet to receive any formal notification of the pumping embargo.
The onus is on the irrigator
It is the obligation of the individual irrigator to ensure that he/she is aware whether or not there is an embargo in place prior to pumping. The issue in this instance is that it appears that there is no notification provided to irrigators other than a series of local radio announcements, this hardly seems adequate however the onus remains on the irrigator at all times.
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