THE suspected theft of 10,000 litres of water from a Victorian backyard has left water carters stunned.
Carol and Jamie Ziebarth, from Chiltern near Wodonga, reported the weekend loss of water from two 5000-litre tanks to police.
"We went away for the weekend and came back on Sunday," Mrs Ziebarth said.
"On Monday afternoon my husband was pottering around in the backyard and went to use the water and thought 'that's weird, there's nothing happening'.
"Then he noticed the overflow pipe on the tank was moved and he went and looked and they were bone dry."
Mrs Ziebarth said truck tyre marks were found outside the back gate of their Albert Road property.
"Who steals water? I don't know," she said. "It's days later and I still don't understand, it's weird, it's odd.
"If someone wanted the water they could have come and asked me. I would have given them the water."
Mrs Ziebarth said a plumber last week had finalised the operation of the plastic tanks to supply water for the garden and they were full.
The incident at the property of the Chiltern Bakery owners surprised Indigo Valley water carters Matt Proctor and Rod Wait.
"It's very, very unusual, never have I heard of it before," Mr Proctor said.
"At the end of the day it's possible, but still seems very unusual, someone would have to have seen something."
Mr Proctor estimated it would take 20 to 30 minutes to pump 10,000 litres and there would be no financial benefit with the price for water $3.50 per 1000 litres.
"It would be for their own benefit, rather than financial," he said.
"It's just a desperate means to water your garden, that's all I can think of."
Mr Wait said: "I couldn't bloody believe it, why would anyone steal water?"
He said the only similar case he knew of was the mass removal of bore water from a standpipe at the Indigo Valley fire station.
The CFA brigade captain Max Grimshaw confirmed there had been two 10,000-litre loads of water removed in late November and early December.
Mr Grimshaw said the withdrawals, which involved nearby property owners hearing trucks, had not been reported to police officers.
However, concerns about the health of the bore have resulted in Indigo Shire contracting a hydrologist to report on it, Mr Grimshaw said.
He added there had been reports of sand being sucked up from the bore due to a lack of water replenishment.