Water theft 'on the rise' in region
Water theft is on the rise in the region warns the Liverpool Plains Shire Mayor.
Councillor Andrew Hope said as the drought continues to bite, residents need to be mindful that it is becoming a fact of life that stands to get worse as long as conditions continue to deteriorate.
“It is a crime to steal water, whether it be from someone’s yard tap, from tanks, from windmills, from public facilities, or from bores," he said.
"A Water Access Licence from WaterNSW is generally required to extract water from rivers or aquifers to use for irrigation, industrial or commercial purposes.
"However, as water becomes scarcer, it becomes more like liquid gold and there are unscrupulous people who will take advantage of this situation for ill-gotten gain."
Cr Hope said people who are on town water supplies need to keep in mind that once water is on their side of the water meter, they are paying for the usage registered.
He added that outside taps are particularly susceptible to water theft and people may need to consider securing these taps to avoid this possibility.
"If you have proof that someone is stealing water you are paying for, the matter should be reported to police," Cr Hope said.
" If you have evidence your meter is being tampered with you should report the matter to Council.
“In regard to town water supplies, only those who receive a water service from a connection to a water supply and pay for it separately to their general rates by paying a water access charge can receive water which they then pay for based on usage charges."
Cr Hope said people are not entitled to just come and take water from these supplies although currently they can purchase it from these systems, and encouraged anyone with concerns to ring the Water Services team on 6746 1755.
He added that people wishing to secure outside taps can consider installing an anti-vandal hose which means it can only be turned on using a 4-way vandal proof tap key.
"It would be a good idea to talk to your plumber about your best course of action,” Cr Hope said.
“At this stage, the shire is not experiencing water theft to the extent that some communities on higher water restriction levels are.
"However, we have had a growing number of reports of water being stolen from private properties and public facilities."
Anyone who sees suspicious activity is encouraged to report the matter to police and council.