Irrigator charged with water theft

Monday 12 October, 2020

A 59-year-old irrigator entered a guilty plea at Swan Hill Magistrates’ Court last week (Oct 6) to taking water without the consent of Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) after using more than 33.4 megalitres in excess of her allocation under her water share.

The Tresco irrigator was granted a diversion. She was ordered to pay $1,127.40 in costs and placed on a 6-month good behaviour bond.

GMW Corporate Secretary Chris Dalton said the organisation takes a zero-tolerance approach to water theft. 

“This is a timely reminder that it’s illegal to take and use more water than allowed under your entitlement,” Mr Dalton 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 in excess of 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.