Advocacy, Community, Council, Crime

Water thieves target Seddon?

Marlborough councilors at the opening of the Seddon water treatment plant. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Soaring water bills are causing a headache for some Seddon residents – and a thief could be to blame.

Bills as high as $3,000 a quarter have been sent to some homes using water metres installed after the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016.

Frustrated homeowners are calling on Marlborough District Council to act.

But one resident says a construction firm brought in to investigate the issue, have revealed the water could be being siphoned off deliberately.

Fed-up resident Sara Grigg says she was billed the equivalent of one year’s normal use in one quarter alone recently.

“We just had our second bill since moving in, all our water usage yearly allocation was used on the first account first bill of $300 which was odd.

“The second bill was the same and got us wondering if this was legit?

“I can’t get over how we have to pay so much for water that is detrimental to our human health and can’t be consumed,” she says.

The mum of two says her family of four do not use much water.

“We barely water in summer as we only have a small patch of garden”.

Awatere Water Supply consumer meters are read every four months – in October, February and June.

Homeowners are billed via a minimum four-monthly charge and volume or via a combined charging structure.

Some owners have been offered partial refunds on their bills by Marlborough District Council who have confirmed they are investigating the matter.

But leaks are not the likely cause of high bills, says a spokeswoman.

“For the Awatere and Seddon Water Supply there was a small flurry of leak calls relating to the 2013 and 2016 earthquakes, however there has been no discernible ongoing earthquake leak issues brought to our attention.

“If others in the community have concerns about their water charges, they should contact council to discuss this further,” a spokeswoman says.

“Where high consumption is noted by staff, council makes contact with customers to advise them.

“In between readings, Council expects customers to monitor their own consumption so they can identify any leaks promptly.

Residents have reported a range of bills, varying from $30 to $3000, with one lady discovering her water was being stolen.

Knowing what normal consumption for their household is should mean households spot problems earlier, says council.

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