A vineyard owner on the Murray River, Brian Vance O'Haire, the owner of 'Euston', has pleaded guilty to illegally taking a huge 1378 megalitres of water over a three-year period.
The grapegrower pleaded guilty to eight charges after an investigation by the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR), the independent water regulator in NSW.
The owner pleaded guilty in the Land and Environment Court to stealing 1378 megalitres of Murray water.
The landholder was from the Wentworth Local Government Area.
The landholder pleaded guilty to all eight charges of taking water from a watercourse without an allocation, a breach of section 60C(2) of the Water Management Act 2000.
The water was allegedly unlawfully taken between April 2016 and March 2019.
NRAR chief regulatory officer Grant Barnes said the case underscored the importance of NSW having an independent regulator that ensures fair water use for all.
"We know the people of NSW want a fair, transparent and enforceable water compliance regime to prevent water theft and ensure equitable water use, and that is what NRAR is delivering," he said.
The sentencing hearing is listed for November 19-20.
The NRAR said its investigators and compliance officers travel all over the state's 57 water sharing plan areas, inspecting properties and assessing compliance with water users' licences and the Water Management Act 2000.
This story originally appeared on The Land