Zero tolerance on water theft

In September 2020, Victorian Minister for Water the Hon Lisa Neville announced she had accepted recommendations from an independent review into water theft compliance measures, providing a boost to water market transparency by adopting a zero-tolerance approach to water theft.

Under the Water Act 1989 (the Act), it is an offence for Lower Murray Water (LMW) rural customers to use water that is not in their ABA (Allocation Account) balance and penalties apply for the unauthorised take of water.

LMW is responsible for investigating non-compliance with the Act and to take action to address any unauthorised take of water by our customers.

In accordance with the recommendations accepted by the Minister, we have developed a Compliance and Enforcement Strategy to ensure the activities we undertake are risk-based, transparent and appropriate. Where necessary, these may include issuing Penalty Infringement Notices, lockdown or prosecution.

The Strategy builds on existing processes to enforce compliance and introduces new frameworks to address and prevent the unauthorised take of water. You can view or download the Strategy on our website here.

What does it mean for our rural customers?

We know most of our customers do the right thing and the Strategy aims to ensure we target our resources to manage and enforce compliance where they’re needed most, while providing the tools and information needed to assist our customers’ decision-making.

You can find helpful information and resources to manage your water use on our website here.

We are also improving our technology and processes to provide near real-time, accurate data to irrigators through telemetry meter readings and SMS notifications when you are approaching a zero ABA balance.

Update your details

If you wish to update or register your contact details to receive ABA and other notifications, you can fill out the online form on our website by selecting ‘Update contact details’ from the dropdown here. Alternatively, you may contact our Rural Customer Team on 03 5051 3400.

Reporting breaches of compliance

We are committed to delivering a fair and reliable service to our customers.

You can report suspected breaches of compliance by contacting the LMW Compliance Team by phone on 03 5051 3400 or via email at contactus@lmw.vic.gov.au. Reports can be received anonymously.