An Undera woman has been fined $2500 after pleading guilty to water theft.
The 61-year-old appeared in Shepparton Magistrates’ Court on May 17, 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 a length of PVC pipe had been installed through the bank of the channel and was being used to divert unmetered water into a recycle dam.
It is unknown how much water was taken.
The court heard the woman owned the 240-acre property since about 2012.
Magistrate Steven Raleigh said the woman did not submit an early plea of guilty and the offence must act as a general deterrent.
Mr Raleigh also imposed costs of $1015.95 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.
“In cases where infrastructure is interfered with, we can only estimate how much water we think was stolen. GMW has an obligation on behalf of all entitlement holders to ensure unauthorised use of and any tampering with infrastructure is met with enforcement,” he said.
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