WDC found in breach of water bylaw

The Waitaki District Council has itself been caught with an illegal water connection in an investigation intended to catch people stealing water.

The council has been clamping down on illegal water connections because of the pressure on the water supply, which has affected the supply to some consumers, in some cases closing water schemes to new connections.

Now its own regulatory department has caught the council breaching its own water scheme bylaw at the Hampden camping ground, which it owns but leases out.

The most common offence is to remove "restrictors", which limit the amount of water consumers get in a day.

A restrictor which controls the flow from the Hampden-Moeraki water scheme to the camping ground had been removed, making it an illegal connection, but ensuring enough water for campers.

The council has moved quickly to rectify the illegal connection and will install two 30,000 litre storage tanks to make sure the camping ground gets enough water, especially during peak holiday periods, when the camp is popular with families.

The council's property committee has been instructed to recover the cost - estimated at $13,000.

Some water scheme committees have been carrying out inspections to find illegal connections.

Hampden-Moeraki was one of those.

The council then got a letter from its compliance monitoring officer, Paul Arnold, saying a restrictor had been removed from the camping ground's supply "and an illegal connection made to the water-supply main pipe".

"This illegal action has contributed to the serious problems experienced by the rural water scheme in supplying water to its customers, who are your neighbours in the community," he said.

The council was breaching the terms and conditions of supply by interfering with a rural water scheme supply pipe, installing an illegal connection, removing the restrictor and taking water in excess of its daily allocation of 1818 litres.

Mr Arnold said the council would be charged the costs incurred by the scheme in investigating, identifying, rectifying and restoring the camping ground's legal supply.

He warned the Hampden-Moeraki water scheme committee took the matter very seriously and any further breach would result in further action.

david.bruce@odt.co.nz

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