• Victoria is committed to maintaining its strong compliance record to maintain integrity of the entitlements market and protect the environment.
  • Water corporations have greater capacity for more compliance and enforcement activities than in past years due to their investments in metering and system monitoring technology.
  • As at 30 June 2019, water corporations have approximately 57,400 meters, about 30,000 of which have telemetry. Water corporations with rural customers also conducted a total of 68,803 manual meter reads and performed 60,483 meter inspections to ensure that meters are maintained and functioning efficiently.
  • 6,300 potential breaches were reported, up from 1,625 in 2017/18. The main reason for the increase was improved scrutiny of water take including reporting all instances that allocation bank accounts became negative and better use of telemetry data for compliance purposes. Warmer and drier conditions were likely to be a contributing factor.
  • 2,043 enforcement actions were taken, most of which (96 per cent) were lower level enforcement actions such as advisory letters and warning letters. The remaining 4 per cent were higher level enforcement actions such as notices of contraventions and recommendations for prosecution.
  • The much larger proportion of lower level enforcement actions is expected as water corporations focus more on assisting water users to comply with water laws.  Escalation to stronger enforcement actions are usually reserved for larger scale offences or repeat offenders who pose high risks to compliance.
  • Victoria has just passed new legislation with tougher penalties and enforcement measures to further discourage water theft.
  • As warmer and drier conditions are predicted to continue, there may be greater temptation for some people to make poor decisions and illegally take and use water – but they will be caught.
  • We take compliance very seriously. In 2019/20, our priority will be continuing to improve the monitoring and enforcement of unauthorised take of water. The government encourages all water users to identify their water needs early and keep positive allocation bank account balances throughout the year.

Page last updated: 28/11/19