Irrigator pleads guilty to meter tampering

A MACALISTER district irrigator appeared before the Sale Magistrates Court last Wednesday charged with taking and using water without authorisation, and tampering with authority property.

Pleading guilty, the man was placed on a diversion plan, including conditions that he upgrade his outlet with an electromagnetic anti-tamper meter at his own cost, make a donation to Maffra Landcare of $500 and to pay Southern Rural Water’s costs.

He was given six months to complete all the conditions of the diversion plan or face court again and risk a conviction being recorded for the offences.

Southern Rural Water’s manager water supply east, Terry Clapham said the court had sent a clear message that tampering with meters was unacceptable and would not be tolerated.

“The requirement for the man to install an anti-tamper meter will eliminate the risk to water supply to other irrigators and the environment.

“We now have the technology to identify discrepancies in channel and river flows, and we will act to protect water supply to other users.”

Mr Clapham urged local irrigators to consider trading for more water if they require it, rather than resorting to actions that could lead to water offences.

“We encourage any irrigator wanting more water to consider trading or buying the water currently available at shelf price after the auction. Our free online trading forum, Watermatch, has already been used by many people in the district wanting to buy or sell water.”

More information about water ordering, or water trading, is available from Southern Rural Water’s Maffra office, online at www.srw.com.au, or by phoning 1300 139 510.