PAY UP: Albury Council's plan to recoup $1m in water losses

ALBURY Council has launched an all-out assault on slow paying water users to recoup more than $1 million in unpaid bills.

Next month council staff will start installing water flow restrictors on properties where there is a significant amount owing.

The devices will restrict water flow to just two litres a minute.

The council is in charge of Albury’s water supply, unlike in Wodonga where North East Water is the responsible authority.

Albury mayor Kevin Mack makes no apologies for the drastic action.

He said all previous efforts to recover outstanding accounts had not worked.

“We’ve got 484 customers who each owe more than $600 in unpaid water accounts,” Cr Mack said.

“We simply can’t write this off.

“We’ve exhausted all avenues, including debt recovery.”

Households with a flow restrictor will still be able to fill a glass of water, flush toilets and have enough water for cooking.

But some appliances, including dishwashers, won’t work.

Cr Mack appealed to those with large amounts outstanding to pay up or talk to the council’s customer service team about a payment plan.

He said customers experiencing financial hardship who had made arrangements to pay and were meeting those arrangements may escape a flow restrictor.

Households identified for a flow restrictor will have received their latest water bill, a reminder notice, a final notice and will shortly receive an “intent to restrict” notice.

They will have 14 days to pay or to make a suitable arrangement.

If no payment is forthcoming, flow restrictors will be installed by a qualified technician, along with an additional fee of $133.50.

They will be removed when outstanding balances have been paid in full.