A Nanneella man has been placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to water theft charges.
The 34-year-old appeared in Echuca Magistrates’ Court on June 2 charged with interference with Goulburn-Murray Water’s (GMW) works, and unauthorised take and use of water.
GMW commenced the prosecution after it was discovered the outlet door was open approximately 2cm with the pin wedged in the door to keep it open.
The court heard the detheridge wheel had also been prevented from turning, stopping the usage recording on the meter. It is unknown how much water was taken.
Magistrate Russell Kelly said a much harsher penalty would be imposed if the man came before the court again.
Mr Kelly also ordered costs of $1426.05 but did not record a conviction.
GMW General Manager Water Delivery Services Warren Blyth said the organisation took a zero-tolerance approach to water theft and had an obligation on behalf of all entitlement holders to ensure unauthorised use of and any tampering with infrastructure was met with enforcement.
“Water is an extremely valuable commodity in Victoria – if one user doesn’t follow the rules, it impacts every other user in the system, and even the wider community,” Mr Blyth said.
“In cases where infrastructure is interfered with, we can only estimate how much water we think was stolen.”
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 Experience Team on 1800 013 357 for assistance.
For more information go to www.gmwater.com.au/compliance