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Byron Shire
December 2, 2021

Tweed water theft reported to police as water restrictions imposed

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Waterways are running dry throughout the Northern Rivers as the drought continues to impact the region. Photo Aslan Shand.

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The value of water is increasing as the drought continues and bushfires rage across NSW. Following the theft of water from Murwillumbah on Monday night the Tweed community are continuing to ask why water mining hasn’t been halted as water restrictions increase for residents.

Water theft

Tweed Shire Council has reported the theft of 25,000 litres of water on Monday night to the police.

The water theft occurred on Monday 9 December between 8pm and 9pm, when a tanker accompanied by a utility drove into Murwillumbah and helped themselves.

The theft comes as Tweed Shire is getting ready to implement level 2 water restrictions across the shire tomorrow.

According to council CCTV footage clearly shows the heist and identifies the vehicles and this has been provided to police as evidence.

Tweed Shire Council general manager Troy Green said the operators of the commercial truck and utility could expect a knock on the door from police.

‘The theft of a very large volume of drinking water is a criminal act and we will be seeking to prosecute the offenders,’ said Mr Green.

The campaign to preserve water for residents has been ongoing. Photo supplied.

Is water extraction theft?

‘Most people consider the water extraction that is taking place in Tweed as water theft,’ said Scott Sledge, president of The Northern Rivers Guardians.

‘It is non-sensical to allow people to continue to pump out ground water for commercial purposes and bottling on the Gold Coast when there is not enough water for local residents and traditional agriculture in the region.’

Tweed Water Alliance held a meeting in Lismore last week with local politicians, the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) and other concerned members of the community to call on the NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey to take action and suspend water mining in the region.

‘The minister has the power to suspend water mining and she should do that. A lot of people are reporting that their bores etc that are used for agriculture have dried up,’ Mr Sledge told Echonetdaily.

‘A formal request was sent to the minister last week by the Tweed Shire Council to put a temporary halt on water mining in the Tweed. So far there has been no action.’

Level 2 water restrictions

‘The Tweed goes on to Level 2 restrictions from tomorrow when we will be asking every resident to save 50 litres of water every day, so we certainly will not tolerate any theft of this precious resource,’ said Tweed’s GM Mr Green.

Community meeting tonight

Tonight there is a community Q&A in Murwillumbah on what action the Tweed Shire can and will be able to take on climate change. The meeting starts at 6pm at the Murwillumbah Community Centre.

For more information about the Tweed’s water restrictions visit www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/SaveWaterNow

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