Helping Hunter Valley landholders better understand the state's complex water laws will be the focus for the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) at this year's Tocal Field Days, Paterson May 5-7. In addition to NRAR representation the Hunter Valley Water Users Association will also have a stand at field days and they are keen to speak to landholders about water and recruit more members. Data gathered by NRAR in 2022 highlighted that some Hunter Valley water users struggled to comply with the rules. The most common issue related to carrying out illegal activities on waterfront land. Alleged offences around taking too much water, not having a correct water meter, or having illegal dams were the next most common. More than 250 alleged breaches of water laws have been detected in the region since data collection began in mid 2019. Staff from NRAR will be at site number 395 to chat to water users about typical problem areas - including basic landholder rights, water meter requirements, where to get water licence and approval advice, and what can and cannot be done on waterfront land. NRAR Director Education and Engagement, Keeley Reynolds, said helping and encouraging people to voluntarily comply with NSW water laws was fundamental to the way NRAR approached regulation. "We believe the most effective way to deter breaches of these laws is to make compliance as easy as it can be. Our staff work hard to reduce the complexity of water law by providing plain English information tailored to the circumstances of individual water users," Ms Reynolds said. During the 2022-23 financial year, NRAR sought to speak directly with people in a variety of ways. Setting up at field days like Tocal means we can provide the chance for water users to have face-to-face discussions about compliance. "Last year we attended nine field days, chalking up 95 hours of face-to-face education with 900 people who popped into our site at a field day. We answered more than 300 questions for them or referred them to the right agency to help them." NRAR recently adopted four new focus areas for its activities in the 2023-24 financial year Irrigated agriculture: NRAR will prioritise the monitoring and regulating of water use in irrigated agriculture, with a particular focus on harvestable rights dams and unlicensed storages in the Murrumbidgee and Murray regions. Floodplain harvesting: Floodplain harvesting accounts for a large amount of surface water take in NSW and it's NRAR's responsibility to monitor, manage and regulate that water take. Entitlements have been issued in a few regions (Gwydir, Border Rivers, Barwon Darling and the Macquarie Valleys) with the Namoi Valley expected to soon follow. Non-urban metering: This is a continuing priority area for NRAR as the rollout across the state continues. It's one of the most significant reforms to water management in the past decade and the next phase will ensure the northern and southern inland are compliant with the new rules. Water use in mining and extractive industries: A standardised framework is needed to provide clear requirements for these operations and industries to record and report their water take. This priority carries over from last year to ensure water take is accurately measured, modelled and accounted for. "If people have any questions about these, or other issues, we urge them to come down to site 395 - just near the food and lifestyle precinct - and we'll be happy to help." Tocal Field Days runs May 5 to 7, in the grounds of Tocal Agricultural College.