AFTER pleading guilty to water theft, a Tatura farmer is almost $4,000 out of pocket.
The man pleaded guilty in Shepparton Magistrates’ Court on April 8, 2022 to unauthorised take and use of water.
Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) commenced the prosecution after he used 40.2ML of water via a meter without authorisation between February 12 and November 22, 2021, despite receiving communication from GMW.
Magistrate David Faram placed the man on a 12-month good behaviour bond and ordered him to pay $2,000 to the Court fund and $1,783.68 in GMW’s costs.
No conviction was recorded. GMW Water Delivery Services general manager Warren Blyth said water theft was a serious offence.
“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 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. Customers with any queries on compliance can phone the GMW Customer Experience Team on 1800 013 357 for assistance.