updated 11/1/2007 9:42:22 AM ET 2007-11-01T13:42:22

A 66-year-old man was bashed to death while watering his lawn following an argument with a neighbor over the city's water restrictions, police and media said Thursday.

Todd Munter, 36, was charged Thursday with murdering Ken Proctor, who lived on a nearby street in suburban Sylvania. Munter did not enter a plea and it was not immediately known whether he had an attorney.

Munter, who appeared distraught and close to tears, was to remain in custody until his next court appearance on Nov. 15.

Police prosecutor Sgt. Bruce Baldwin did not give details of the murder charge.

Police alleged in a statement that Munter approached Proctor Wednesday as he watered his lawn with a hose at 5:30 p.m. and an argument ensued. Television and radio news bulletins reported the argument was over Sydney's water restrictions.

Proctor reportedly sprayed Munter with the hose. Police allege Munter responded by punching and pushing Proctor to the ground and kicking him.

An off-duty police officer intervened and arrested Munter, the statement said. Proctor was taken by ambulance to hospital but died soon after, police said.

Proctor was complying with Sydney's water restrictions when he was killed. Watering with hand-held hoses is allowed on Wednesdays and Sundays before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

All major cities in Australia have water use restrictions as the nation experiences its worst drought in a century.

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