Murray River irrigator slapped with $131k best for illegal water consume
A country solicitor has been fined extra than $130,000 for frequently pumping water from the Murray River onto his irrigation property when he used to be no longer accredited to preserve up out so.
- Brian Vance O’Haire pleaded responsible to eight counts of taking water in contravention of the Water Management Act
- He used to be charged with taking 1,378 megalitres while his story used to be in deficit between 2016 and 2018
Justice Rachel Pepper chanced on he lacked remorse and used to be a moderate likelihood of reoffending
The offences took location on eight situations between April 2016 and September 2018, when Brian Vance O’Haire took 1,378 megalitres of water while his total security water story used to be in deficit.
The NSW Land and Environment Court heard O’Haire had been warned extra than one situations between 2014 and 2016, when his story had long past into deficit and WaterNSW officers informed him to procure extra water earlier than continuing to pump on his property, Tapaulin Farm, shut to Euston.
O’Haire used to be given two penalty infringement notices for taking water while his story used to be detrimental in 2015, the court docket used to be informed.
In a voluntary interview with WaterNSW officers in 2016, he conceded he used to be no longer using the water accounting system to inspire note of his steadiness.
O’Haire pleaded responsible to eight counts of taking water in contravention of the Water Management Act closing July.
He argued he used to be “no longer inquisitive about any dishonest conduct” and informed the court docket money sail points at his correct follow averted him procuring for water in time to irrigate his vines.
As a replace, he blamed the Natural Resources Receive admission to Regulator (NRAR) for failing to exercise its enforcement powers to discontinue him taking water.
Water taken while system ‘seriously low’
O’Haire had provided Tapaulin Farm as a superannuation funding for himself and his wife but had liabilities of $4 million and his correct follow in the nearby Victorian town of Robinvale used to be funding the farm.
He argued in court docket that he had suffered extra-curial punishment on story of his offending had been widely reported in regional media and the coverage could presumably maybe also honest bask in resulted in his correct follow losing some purchasers.
But in sentencing this week, Justice Rachel Pepper said O’Haire used to be a likelihood of reoffending and had expressed “no remorse or remorse in any respect”.
“Moreover, at no level has O’Haire demonstrated any insight into his offending,” she said.
Hydrologist Sukhdeep Singh informed the court docket storages across the Murray and lower Darling system were “seriously low” in April 2016 and that no matter smartly-liked rainfall the next one year, dry prerequisites in early 2018 had put the NSW Murray below stress.
Justice Pepper said while the evidence about its results on diversified licence holders used to be restricted, O’Haire’s offending could presumably maybe also honest bask in “contributed to inefficiencies in the water administration system”.
She said recordsdata provided to the court docket urged O’Haire provided water at a larger trace than the estimated $198,000 he would bask in paid “had he purchased water when required”.
O’Haire used to be convicted and ordered to pay NRAR’s correct costs, as well to to his $131,250 best.