A Carisbrook man has been fined $2000 and ordered to pay court costs after pleading guilty to water theft in the Maryborough Magistrates’ Court in March.
The man, 70, of Carisbrook, appeared in court on 1 March 2021 charged with two counts of wrongful taking of water, and two counts of interfering with works belonging to a water authority during the 2018/19 season.
Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) brought forward the prosecution after it was discovered the propeller of the meter associated with the man’s property, which extracts water from the Tullaroop Creek, had been blocked with flexible pipe and was unable to record water use.
The man said he accepted that the meter was not working, however he could not say how much water had been used.
Magistrate Sharon McRae imposed a fine of $2000 and $2500 in costs, with no conviction recorded.
GMW General Manager Water Delivery Services Warren Blyth said GMW took a zero-tolerance approach to water theft.
“We take tampering with water meters seriously and have an obligation on behalf of all entitlement holders, and the wider community, to ensure customers do the right thing,” Mr Blyth said.
“Water theft affects the whole community and can lead to less water to be allocated to entitlement holders. It can also impact on water deliveries to other customers.”
The Water Act 1989 was amended in October 2019 to provide for greater deterrence against water theft by strengthening penalties and giving water corporations a wider range of enforcement tools and powers to suspend or cancel licences.
Customers with any queries on compliance can phone the GMW Customer Contact Centre on 1800 013 357 for assistance.