VIDEO EXPLAINER: What is water theft?

Surrounded by ocean and renowned for its expansive beaches, Australia is ironically the driest inhabited continent in the world.

Water is a scarce commodity in this country of over 7.5 million square kilometres – and a number of Australians have been stealing it.

In South Australia, a Royal Commission is investigating breaches of the Murray Darling Basin Agreement by large agricultural corporations.

And in NSW, WaterNSW is prosecuting breaches of the Water Management ACT 2000 (NSW), with two major cotton growers recently charged over water theft.

An independent report by water expert Ken Matthews, commissioned by the NSW Government, found “that water-related compliance and enforcement arrangements in NSW have been ineffectual and require significant and urgent improvement”.

The inquiries and report were sparked by an ABC Four Corners investigation that highlighted shocking incidents of water theft in the Murray Darling.

The Guardian has run a series of articles this week under the banner, Our Wide Brown Land, explaining the depth of the problem and the struggle for a solution. For an introduction into the issue, Hatch‘s Genevieve Smith has created this simple video explainer.