Groundwater licence suspensions a timely reminder to growers

News story
The suspension of two groundwater licences in the state’s south-west is a timely reminder to growers to strictly monitor their water use to ensure it complies with their licensed entitlements. 
Last updated: 10 August 2023

Two operators in the Myalup Irrigated Agricultural Precinct have had their licences suspended for three months and six months respectively after they extracted groundwater in excess of their licensed entitlements, despite the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s extensive engagement and education efforts to change their behaviour.   
One of the licence holders was also prosecuted and received a $2,000 fine, with costs of $788.30 and a suspended sentence. 

In both cases, the groundwater aquifers from which the water was drawn were fully allocated. The combined amount of water taken over the allocated amount was around 229,355 kilolitres over the 2021-2022 water year, equivalent to approximately 115 Olympic sized swimming pools. 

When a licence is suspended it is an offence for the licensee to draw water from the groundwater source under that licence. 

DWER’s Executive Director of Regional Delivery, Simon Taylor, said it is critical to ensure groundwater is sustainably managed to support the ongoing availability and quality of water for commercial uses such as horticulture, as well as meeting the water requirements of the environment. 

“In both of these cases, the escalation of enforcement was necessary to protect the water resources, other groundwater users, and the environment in line with community and industry expectations,” he said. 

“This is a reminder to all holders of water licences: make sure the amount of water you are using is in line with your allocated amount. Our officers continue to undertake compliance to identify over-use and the department will escalate cases in which licence holders continue to do the wrong thing.”