18 February 2008

Neighbours dob in water cheats

ALMOST 1000 Melburnians face $429 fines after being given final warnings for wasting water.

And many can blame neighbours who are dobbing in those splurging on diminishing supplies.
Water wasters are being threatened with fines and disconnection in a bid to manage storages.
Figures obtained by the Sunday Herald Sun reveal there are 969 Melburnians on second and final warnings. If caught again they will become the first people in Melbourne to be fined or convicted for water waste, the State Government says.
Water authorities have issued 756 first-warning letters and 114 final warnings over the past month. Offenders could have their water turned off and face charges in a crackdown on people flouting 3A restrictions.
Since the restrictions were introduced in April, more than 5180 water cheats have been caught.
Among the cases:
HUNDREDS of people have been found watering lawns and gardens outside dedicated hours.
NEIGHBOURS dob in each other for washing cars and using sprinklers.
Water authorities and the Government have until now focused on education rather than punishment. But with water storages below 40 per cent and dry months ahead, Water Minister Tim Holding said tough measures were needed to protect reserves.
Only Mark Raymond Hogan, of Cranbourne, has been convicted of a breach of water laws, but he was charged with theft, not breaches of waste laws.
He admitted siphoning off millions of litres to fill a dam and received a suspended sentence with no fine.
The Government has funded more than 140 patrol officers and 90 vehicles to oversee restriction breaches.
Melburnians are using 28 per cent less water than they were 10 years ago.
Stage 3A restrictions are expected until at least the end of June

Peter Rolfe Herald Sun December 16, 2007

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