A Tatura dairy farmer has been fined $10,000 over water theft charges.
The matter was heard in Shepparton Magistrates’ Court on December 20, 2021 after the 54- year old man was charged with unauthorised take and use of water.
Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) commenced the prosecution after it found the man had taken and used about 2ML of water without authorisation on April 23, 2020.
While the man’s barrister claimed his client was experiencing financial difficulty and water prices were high, Magistrate Peter Dunn said everyone was doing it tough.
“Nothing makes him more entitled than another water user,” he said.
“Another water user further down the channel may not be able to access water if the accused takes without authorisation.
“Rural communities are generally very strongly bonded together. This type of action strikes at the heart of the community.
“A message needs to be sent.”
As well as issuing a $10,000 fine, Mr Dunn ordered the man to pay $1836.15 in costs.
No conviction was recorded.
GMW Water Use Compliance and Enforcement coordinator Chris Dalton said the corporation took 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 in Victoria – if one user doesn’t follow the rules, it impacts every other user in the system, and even the wider community.
“We have an obligation on behalf of all entitlement holders to ensure unauthorised use is met with enforcement.”
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