Irrigator charged with water theft

Thursday 28 July, 2022

A Murchison man appeared at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court last week (Jul 15) in relation to a charge of taking water without the consent of Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW).

The irrigator was granted a diversion. He was ordered to pay $1,000 in costs and was placed on a good behaviour bond until 13 January 2023.

While the irrigator had a water-use registration and nominated allocation account, they did not have sufficient allocation in their account. Investigations of the irrigator’s outlet indicated unauthorised take of 1.8ML between 15 September 2020 and 3 May 2021.

GMW Water Delivery Services general manager Warren Blyth said the organisation takes a zero-tolerance approach to water theft.  

“It is illegal to take and use more water than allowed under your entitlement,” Mr Blyth said.

“Water is an extremely valuable commodity and it is your responsibility to keep a positive balance in your water allocation bank account.

“Even small amounts of water above a customer’s water share quickly add up and there is limited water to go around.

“If one user doesn’t follow the rules, it impacts every other user within the system.

“We have an obligation on behalf of all entitlement holders to ensure unauthorised use is met with enforcement.”

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. 

For more information on water use compliance visit the Water Use Compliance page or to report potential misconduct call the GMW Contact Centre Team on 1800 013 357.