Enforcement of the Water Resources Act

The EPA has extensive powers to investigate and enforce breaches of the Water Resources Act. For example, authorised officers of the EPA may, in certain circumstances, undertake enforcement activities such as entering premises, carrying out inspections, seizing things, and applying for and executing warrants (Part 10).

Further, the EPA has the power to take disciplinary action (which includes amending, suspending or cancelling a licence, allocation or entitlement) in certain circumstances, including where satisfied that a person has contravened a condition of the licence, allocation or entitlement (Part 6).

The EPA also has the power to issue orders to a person requiring them to do things such as stop taking water, remediate damage done to land or water sources, or modify or remove a water structure, provided certain criteria are satisfied (Part 9).

Review of decisions in ACAT

Schedule 1 to the Water Resources Act sets out decisions that, for the purposes of Part 11, are ‘reviewable decisions’ (s 94). These include decisions to refuse to issue various types of licences under the Water Resources Act, to impose conditions on these licences, to amend or refuse to approve transfer of a water access entitlement, and to take certain types of disciplinary action.

An entity mentioned in column 4 of Schedule 1, or any other person whose interests are affected by the decision, may apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal

(ACAT) for the review of such a decision (s 96 and s 22Q of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 (ACAT Act)). An application to ACAT for a review of the decision must be made within 28 days of the date of the decision (ACAT Act, s 10(2)) (see Chapter 12 in this Handbook for a further discussion of ACAT).

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