Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) has had six steel gates stolen from access points to irrigation channels in the north-west of the Murray Valley Irrigation District, frustrating staff and creating safety concerns.
The gates, attached to wooden fencing to keep livestock and the public away from plastic-lined channels, were stolen sometime on Monday or Tuesday, October 15 and 16, from a site along Morris Rd, Yalca. The channel in question is located just south of the Murray Valley Highway, near the intersection of Morris Rd and Waaia-Bearii Rd.
The incident followed the theft of four gates over the July 14-15 weekend also on Morris Rd. Last year, GMW had to replace stolen gates along Chapel Rd and Healy Rd, Cobram.
“The gates are there to ensure access to irrigation channels is restricted to authorised GMW staff or contractors,” Customer Service Manager Murray Valley Brendan Brooks said.
“If stock get access along the channel they may have difficulty getting out. Plastic-lined channels also pose a drowning risk to animals - and people of course,” he said.
Tools, including bolt-cutters, were used in the thefts. Mr Brooks said the cost of each gate, at about $150, would ultimately be passed on to irrigation customers.
“It’s really the petty nature of the crimes that is so frustrating and disappointing.
“Someone is out there blatantly stealing these gates just to save a few dollars on their own property, but it is costing farmers and creating a real risk for the wider community,” he said.
Anyone with any information should contact CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.