EDO acts as an environmental watchdog that holds big companies to account for unfair and illegal actions that damage the environment and communities.

The Murray-Darling is a critically important river system that flows over 2000km from Queensland, through NSW, the ACT and Victoria into South Australia. The system serves the needs of sensitive wetlands, towns and farms and contains significant Aboriginal sites. The management of its water is governed by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan under the Water Act.

EDO NSW has begun civil enforcement proceedings in the NSW Land and Environment Court over allegations of unlawful water pumping by a large-scale irrigator on the Barwon-Darling. Our client, the Inland Rivers Network, alleges the irrigator pumped the water in breach of its water licences.

The alleged illegal pumping may have had serious impacts on environmental flows in the river and other water users. The Inland Rivers Network is particularly concerned about the 2014/15 period, when it was so dry that the Menindee Lakes fell to 4 per cent capacity. This threatened Broken Hill’s water and led the NSW Government to impose an embargo on pumping during part of that year in order to improve flows.

The Inland Rivers Network is seeking an injunction to prevent the irrigator from continuing to allegedly breach its conditions. The IRN is also asking for the Court to require the irrigator to return an equivalent volume of water to the system, or to stop it from pumping that amount of water the next time flows are low. Failure to comply with such a court order would be a criminal offence. 

EDO New South Wales is the legal entity acting in this case. EDO NSW began trading as EDO Ltd in September 2019.