AUTHORITIES are investigating a number of water tampering incidents in the Green Lake district south-east of Horsham.
Police are calling for information on taps being turned on at farmers’ meters, and GWMWater is investigating how 50 megalitres of water was illegally diverted into Green Lake.
The water authority stopped delivering water to the lake on November 22 but was notified the channel boards had been opened again on November 27.
An unknown person or persons bent the boards’ winding mechanism to remove the padlock and chain keeping it closed.
GWMWater stakeholder and governance executive manager Andrew Rose said slow channel flows reduced the impact of the illegal diversion.
“We are not sure why someone would do it but it is a bit of a concern,” he said.
“If it had been when the channel was flowing hard, it could have had a significant effect.
“We really carefully manage the
channel and try to make every drop count. That water was earmarked for Taylors Lake to sustain the community during the rest of the summer.”
The water authority notified Horsham police of the illegal diversion on Friday, but is yet to make a formal complaint.
“People are passionate about water, there is no doubt about that, but we have a job to do and we have to manage the resource very carefully,” Mr Rose said.
“Even when we have a reasonable supply, we can’t afford to do anything that is going to jeopardise that.”
Green Lake Action Group’s Glenn Mibus said the illegal diversion could have threatened Green Lake’s beach.
“Last year we discussed with GWMWater that we wanted a beach – we didn’t want the lake full to the brim,” he said.
“They had it perfect this year and luckily the diversion hasn’t affected the beach too much – if it hadn’t been stopped it would have taken the beach away completely.
“GWMWater has been very understanding of the water level people want at Green Lake.”
Horsham Senior Sergeant Brendan Broadbent said police would increase patrols in the Green Lake area.
“There have also been a number of incidents where taps have been turned on at farmers’ meters,” he said.
“While we have been told about incidents or there has been heresay, no farmers have come forward to report any damage or criminal activity.
“We are asking farmers who see suspicious activity to note the details of any vehicles.”