Farmers billed for water stored in own dams

Farmers believe they have been wrongly charged for water stored in their dams.

FLEURIEU Peninsula farmers have been hit with their first bills for water stored in their dams and believe they are being wrongfully charged for water for stock and household use.
The bills, issued by the Western Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resource Management Board this week, range from $37 to $5000 depending on the storage capacity and water use on properties.

A growing group of outraged Fleurieu farmers has called for others to ignore the bills in protest against the move they say they were guaranteed would not happen.
The Department of Environment, Wildlife and Natural Resources has warned debt collectors would be sent if the bills were not paid within 90 days.

Back Valley dairy farmer Wayne Kirk said when the NRM board pushed for farm dams to be metered in 2011, farmers were told they would never be charged for stock water or household water.
In the first round of bills, farms with no irrigation or water use outside of stock and households, have been hit with water levy bills.

“This is the first time they have sent the levy out in this region,’’ Mr Kirk said.
“They have done it in other regions around the state and I think the Eyre Peninsula also is facing it now. We already pay a NRM levy which this financial year will raise $27.5 million … these bills are on top of that and for what?’’

Mr Kirk said there was a degree of acceptance of charges for using groundwater where farmers used bores for irrigation, but drawing from dams for stock and household water should not be billed.

“There’s some people out there who are going to get really big bills because they have quite a lot of storage. But they’re not using that water, they’re not stealing it, it is in the system,’’ Mr Kirk said.

“The NRM’s argument is that they are controlling water use. They know how big our dams are and how much water we use. If a farmer was to do the wrong thing then they can act.’’
A Department of Environment, Wildlife and Natural Resources spokesman confirmed invoices had been sent out to water licence holders across the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region, including the Western Mount Lofty Ranges.

“Water licence holders in the Barossa, McLaren Vale and Northern Adelaide Plains have been contributing to a water levy since the late 1990s/early 2000,’’ the spokesman said.
“Licence holders in the WMLR are now also contributing to the Water levy. This ensures equity with other licence holders In the AMLR region.

“There is no levy charged for water which is used for stock and domestic purposes.’’
The billing of farm general water licence holders in the Western Mount Lofty Ranges will generate approximately $696,000 and $1,200,000 from SA Water.

“These funds are used by the Board to support water management and planning,’’ the spokesman said.
“The board is responsible under the natural resources management act for ensuring the long term sustainable use of the region’s water resources. The board implements the act through the development and review of water allocation plans and monitoring of the resource.’’


99 Comments Add yours

  1. And this happens.. So sorry. That is Why Standing Rock is important. Maybe they could argue about Adani Coal Mine Agreement to use as much unlimited water as they like. Was passed by Qld State. People are not permitted to protest or know how much water…


  2. Geza Wisky says:

    What do you expect from a LABOUR GOVERMENT? If can’t stop this ridiculou
    s charge, soon they charging for the air what we breathing.


    1. Geza, they tried to tax the air we breathe… they called it an emissions trading scheme…


    2. Wendy peck says:

      Vote for pauline then elections comming up very soon, all the other premiers have let you all down what have you got to loose at least pauline will listen learn & do something constructive.


  3. Mal O'Brien says:

    Another lazy way of raising revenue because they lack the foresight to think up ways of operating a progressive business, but their jobs are safe they are public servants!!


  4. Mark says:

    Start a partition. Should get a lot of signatures.


  5. multifariousradio says:

    I can’t believe I’m reading this. These fat cats have no real idea of what happens in the real world. Charging our hard working farmers for water stored in their dams. Pathectic greedy money grabbing low life, I sincerely hope santa brings them nothing for christmas and karma turns around a bites these bludgers hard on the arse. Farmers rights forever, leave yhem alone. Steve from Sydney.


  6. Mark musarra says:

    Well I say hit them with bills for costs of creating the storage and mantainence. That will hurt them its just a bullshit bill don’t one of you pay fight it.


  7. mountainrange says:

    seriously they need to look at there wages before hitting the farmers using there dam water and they need to look at what they spend


  8. Ron Hanson J.P. (Qualified) says:

    I suggest that the pollies looks after our own back yard before they look after every one else because with out the farmers we would have to import our food which would cost a fortune.
    So pollies start act for our farmers not overseas developmenters happing.


  9. Warren marnell says:

    Absolute outrage. Sick of politicians trying to gouge Australians for almost anything and everything. If rain fall from the sky and it land on your property it’s definitely yours tax free.


  10. James says:

    This is a great way to get the message out to the general public. However, unless the public actually makes their views known to the politicians then nothing will change. To find out who represents in this area go here and write to the sitting member and advise that they do not have your vote at the next election due to this issue.


  11. John says:

    Again go back to the Constitution
    Chapter IV— Finance and Trade
    100. Nor abridge right to use water
    The Commonwealth shall not, by any law or regulation of trade or commerce, abridge the right of a State or of the
    residents therein to the reasonable use of the waters of rivers for conservation or irrigation.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tanya Adams says:

    This is by far pone of the biggest rip-offs of all time. The cost to put in dams and the maintenance is HUGE…. then to be so crass as to try to charge people for RAIN? when tonnes of water flows into the ocean from flooding, streams and rivers.. makes this a crime of the century. To suggest the money is spent in resource management is one of the biggest most ridiculous statements when we see billions of Tax dollars annually wasted by a government who cannot budget nor spend within its means, so these created fees and charges are over extending the abilities of an already over-burdened people has become a nightmarish practice.


  13. John E Buoy says:

    Does this mean that the farmer will be able to charge the fire brigade, when they come through during a fire to fill their tankers from the farmer’s dam? Sounds absurd, right? Just as absurd as the Government billing the Farmers for this water.


  14. It is outrageous that Governments – without a referendum – can “demand” that “water from heaven” belongs to them. Water that falls belongs to us all. This is supposed to be a Democracy where the people rule however we are increasingly dominated by government greed and it must stop.


    1. John says:

      So next time their is a major flood and property destroyed it is solely the responsibility of the Government to rectify all damage at not cost the owner of the property as it is the Governments water that did the damage..Seems fair to me


  15. Annette Harris says:

    Don’t be so bloody stupid, if you looked and planned ahead none of this would be happening, the State Gov, are there to look after the people of that state, not rip them off. Stop filling your pockets with money, and do your job. You don’t own the water that falls on the farmers land, he does, it costs you nothing, has nothing to do with you seriously.


  16. kathy o'brien says:

    Are they serious – did they pay for the dams or water storage to be built NO !!!! Do they have a pipeline to give them water in times of drought or access to trucked in water . grrrr Money grabbing rotters !!!!


  17. Jimbo says:

    This story is about 3 years old. This sort of thing is not uncommon. I was reading that in Colorado in the US it is illegal to even own a water tank on your property. All water resides with the state. So things could be worse…


  18. Bill says:

    I’m completely against this form of ripping off farmers. If you look at the amount raised from this ridiculous levy you’ll see it’s about the same as the cushy salaries and benefits of the public servants who administer it. What is the benefit to the public they serve? A filing cabinet full of forms showing the dams and their capacity. Simple answer is for the farmers to refuse to pay. First one who gets taken to court to enforce payment everyone shows up, media get called, current affairs program features the story, politicians get lobbied etc. defence is the constitution section 100. They will run a mile because this case will cripple such an idea for the whole country.


  19. Les from Melbourne says:

    So wrong. Turd polishing of the highest level. Domestic stock and household use should be exempt. Not happy


  20. Bertram Holland says:

    Just shut up and pay your bills.All you’re good for is whinging and crying,poor me! Typical Australian apathy…Given half a chance,most of you would sell your land off to an overseas bidder,because they can afford it.There are ways around what the government is doing with their Agenda 21 policies,but you haven’t got the get up and go,to get off your arses,and stand up to the pricks. You want someone else to do it for you,don’t you? Don’t give me any excuses,I’ve lived long enough to know what I am talking about. I may not own land,but my family paid in blood,for this country,and that includes me. IT does not take a great deal of intelligence to out smart these bastards,as I explained in a comment that I made on my facebook page. To those that this comment does not apply,I wish you all the best in your endeavours. Regards,Bert the bastard from the bush.


  21. Martin says:

    This suggests Govt owns the rain. This therefore constitutes a supply for consideration. This should mean the government can be charged (and sued) for droughts.


  22. Leanne says:

    This so called water board is a non recognised entitiy therefore everything they’re doing is an illegal crime against the farmers, Corporate laws are ALL illegal, they cannot charge you for water that falls from the sky, in fact they cannot charge you for anything, so much more I could say but its too long to say here


  23. John Ralph says:

    It’s no suprise, it’s just the way Govt depts act these days ..a law unto themselves


  24. Stephanie Parker says:

    When do they stop sticking it to us. Get rid of foreign companies. Also why do we have rice farming in Australia. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  25. Lloyd Morey says:

    God supplied the water, the farmer, the dam. Western Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resource Management Board supplied nothing. If nobody pays they’ll have to cave in. Bloody out and out thievery.


  26. helena collins says:



  27. Katrina Mann says:

    Discusting. Leave farmers alone
    The back bone of our country can not take much more of this government nonsense. Do not tie thier hands, bloody help them. This is pure revenue raising crap. Stop Australia becoming Internationally owned. Think of OUR future not the short term gain.


  28. Diana Boot says:

    Will they deduct on hot days for loss by evaporation or can the farmer ask for reimbursement money when their dam does not fill to capacity in bad years? Next they will be charging for air if you live in the country because it is not polluted and could be better used in the city or igniting machinery. Surely this can be challenged on so many levels. Its obscene,
    They need to do more about the massive overuse by some industries whose irrigation pumps make rivers go backwards at times, pollution of waterways by industry rendering the water unusable by others and damaging to nature.
    Short sightedness is always an element of governments.


  29. Grant Kidd says:

    send back a bill for land rental for storage


  30. J says:

    This is greed to an extreme degree and is practically sealing.


  31. We should support our farmers all the way they are the lifeline of our country so easy to forget when we are in the cities


  32. J G says:

    Why should anyone collect more water in their dams than they require? Charging seems to me a reasonable way to create an incentive for landowners to manage their catchment responsibly for the benefit of those downstream and the environment!


  33. Tell me if your farm has a natural lake do you get charged for its capacity? the government does not pay for the construction of the dams and the water falls from the sky so where do they get off charging for it. How many large mining companies are allowed to draw as much water as they like and also risk aquifers with mines? This on top of the Queensland government considering seizing farms so foreign troops can train here. We need more farming land not less and farmers should be helped not hindered or is this just part of a bigger plan to force small farmers off the land and giving it over to multinationals.


  34. Lana Gardiner says:

    Water comes from the sky it’s free what the hell why should farmers be charged for water for their land to many white collared idiots that wouldn’t know the which end is the arse on a cow sits in an airconditioned office dictating to the Aussie farmers about their water that falls from the sky all i can say is F—off and get a real job dick heads


  35. Rebecca needham says:

    How descusting. Water in your dam is owned my the property owner, like the water in your tanks. What the government is going to tax that as well.
    Farmers rely on that water its always about money making. The council should be a shamed, of your selves.


  36. Rob Golley says:

    What the hell are these parasites doing. Combined legal action against the inappropriate charge for water not supplied or controlled by the authority is inappropriate and no doubt completely illegal.
    If legislation exists authorising this it does need to be changed immediately.
    Stand together and fight this parasitic money hungry water authority.
    If my dam, on my property, all natural water and run off from my property all water contained and collected would be mine.
    Any unauthorised meters would be removed as it is not a reticulation scheme.
    Band together as strength in numbers and contact your local politicians, opposition members, Premier and Federal Government representatives to investigate the legality of any state authority undertaking such charging for something they neither own or control.
    Don’t forget in the interim that if they are charging for your own water you can also send them a bill(coincidently same as the water charge for your cost in storing what they believe is their water) for the use of your dam, ongoing maintenance, percentage of construction costs etc etc.
    These water wankers do need to be bought to order and their knees.
    Nothing but greed orchestrated by a cash strapped and desperate state government.
    Good luck guys.


  37. Michael Edwards says:

    If the farmers do not use the stored water and make it available to the government..can the farmers charge the government storage fees?


  38. Sam says:



  39. Geoff says:

    People of Australia, come together and stand against these taxes and money grabs.


  40. Sharyn Mc-Fonti says:

    This is all a plan for the One World Order where no-one is allowed to own anything as it all becomes a part of the one world state. All taxes collected on everything on the planet goes to support a One World Governing body, led by an elite group of non-elected persons. These foolish politicians in Australia blindly follow this agenda and have signed away our land to multi national corporations. Water is our right as citizens of this planet and to tax farmers on water that falls from the sky is absolutely insane. What happens to us if we have no food or if it becomes too expensive to even purchase. Wake up and start thinking for yourselves Australian politicians. STOP selling off the farm that does not even belong to you!!


  41. eddie ebborn says:

    Well get some balls and band together and throw the government cnt,s off do not be gutless like the truckies and so called bikies were the whole stinking government is curupt


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