The story appears on

Page A11

September 1, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Australia targets water thieves

THE government in Australia's driest state imposed up to 30-fold increases on fines for water theft yesterday in a bid to highlight a water shortage as the Murray River continues to run low.

South Australia's low water availability means that officials have apportioned water rights for irrigation and restricted when and how much residents can water their gardens and lawns. Lake beds in national parks are still drying up despite the measures.

"If anyone illegally takes water out of the Murray, the penalty will fit the crime," South Australian Premier Mike Rann said in a statement. "Water theft is a crime that takes water from all who depend on the Murray, but it is ultimately the environment ... that pays the highest price."

Rann said maximum fines for stealing water from the river would be increased a whopping 3,000 percent for corporations from A$70,000 (US$58,600) to A$2.2 million, while fines for individuals would rise 1,900 percent to A$700,000 from A$35,000.

The fines are meant to stop those who steal water through illegal levees and irrigation channels or interfere with water meters.

The penalty is for water theft within the state of South Australia, but Rann asked premiers in the upriver states to increase their penalties as well.

The state, which encompasses some of Australia's most arid regions, has said the eastern states of Victoria and New South Wales are to blame for overusing the Murray River's water and leaving the southern state with a shortage.

Seven years of low rainfall and above-average temperatures have drained the Murray-Darling river system, according to a report by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission earlier this year.

There are fears that in some areas, chiefly in South Australia, that rising salinity and acidification caused by heat and drought in lakes and low-lying riverbeds will not only severely reduce irrigation waters but eliminate ecosystems that are home to native birds and animals.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend