Help EDO NSW defend our natural resources
For years, the team at EDO NSW has focused on water conservation across Australia – and the Murray-Darling Basin in particular – providing expert, independent analysis of laws and regulations along with legal advice and education to local communities, and pursuing litigation in the public interest.
As the trusted experts in public interest environmental law, our advice has been sought by concerned community members, rural landholders, scientists, policy-makers and journalists.
In 2016, we obtained records on behalf our client, the Australian Conservation Foundation, indicating illegal water harvesting in the Barwon-Darling River at a time when Broken Hill's drinking water supply, farmers' ability to access water and the river's ecosystem were all under threat.
However, much of the information we requested for our client about water access licences and complaints regarding potential non-compliance with regulations has been withheld on the basis it would prejudice the business affairs of the implicated license holders.
The public has a right to know how the NSW Government is regulating and enforcing the use of our most vital natural resources, and transparency is key to regaining public confidence in the regulatory system governing water use in the Murray Darling Basin.
In July, ABC Four Corners' Pumped exposed alleged illegal water harvesting in the Basin, featuring the work of EDO NSW. The subsequent media coverage prompted both the NSW and Federal Governments to order reviews of water use in the Basin.
In September, Ken Matthews AO (formerly Head of the National Water Commission) released the interim report from his independent investigation into NSW water management and compliance. Many of his recommendations reflect those in recent EDO law reform submissions:
“My principal finding is that water-related compliance and enforcement arrangements in NSW... require significant and urgent improvement.
Solving the problem will be critical to the success of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. It is a pre-condition if the anticipated environmental benefits are to be delivered ... there is a strong public expectation that arrangements should be in place already and, to the extent that they are not, a remedy is urgent.”
Having proposed regulatory solutions, we are now pursuing a remedy.
Representing a local community group – the Inland Rivers Network – we have just filed a civil enforcement case in the Land and Environment Court relating to alleged breaches of our water laws.
When responsible agencies fail to take action to protect the environment, EDO NSW empowers affected communities to seek environmental justice.
If you have already donated, thank you! If not, please consider making an end-of-year tax-deductible donation to our Environmental Defence Fund or joining our monthly giving group,Friends of the EDO.
Your gift will help us continue all our important litigation, policy and law reform and community legal education work, now and into the future.
Thank you for your support,