Yambuna farmer pleads guilty to water theft

Friday 25 June, 2021

A Yambuna dairy farmer has been placed on 12-month good behaviour bond for stealing almost 45ML of water.

The 51-year-old woman pleaded guilty in Echuca Magistrates’ Court on June 2 to unauthorised take and use of water between June 7, 2019, and March 23, 2020, and operation of works without authorisation.

The woman, who has been running the farm with her husband for 26 years, had taken and used 44.9ML of water without authorisation - leaving a negative balance in her water allocation bank account (ABA) - and failed to renew her Works Licence to operate her pump. The negative balance in her ABA had been corrected before her court appearance.

Magistrate Russell Kelly imposed costs of $1767.80, and no conviction was recorded.

GMW General Manager Water Delivery Services Warren Blyth said water theft was a crime.

“GMW has a zero-tolerance approach to water theft, which provides equity of access to limited water resources and protects those who are doing the right thing,” he said.

“It is important to plan ahead and have month to month and seasonal plans for your water needs and make sure you keep a positive balance in your water allocation bank account.”

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