Property owners in Albury who find themselves with a sky-high water bill because of an undetected water leak are being given the chance to recoup some of that cost.
The city's council has adopted a policy which allows for some relief to be provided to those caught out by a mysterious water flow.
An adjustment to the final charge will now be considered if there is an undetected leak which results in average consumption being one-and-a-half times greater than the period covered by the previous three equivalent bills.
Examples include leaks caused by breaks in pipelines or connections in the ground, slabs, walls, rooftops and those that occur in inaccessible sites or vacant premises that are clearly not visible to the owner.
Councillor Murray King said the city's administration had recently alerted him to a costly leak from a rooftop pipe on his industrial building at Albury airport.
"It was a small leak but it turned my water bill, which is normally $100 for three months into nearly $2000," Cr King said.
"The council called me and said 'you've got a massive spike in your water usage' and then I went and had a look at it and got a plumber in and he did some pressure tests and up she came.
"Because it was a small leak and on the roof it was not something where you saw water running down your windows or seeping up in your backyard."
Cr King did not get any bill relief for his episode, but welcomed the council's proactive approach and new policy on undetected leaks.
"They've realised people are honest and it's not some sort of scam that people are out to pull the wool over the eyes of the council," he said.
"By and large people of Albury are honest and stuff happens, the policy is you only get one crack at it every five years.
"They're not going to wear that your hose broke over your empty swimming pool."
Fellow councillor Henk van de Ven has also endorsed the new approach.
"I think that this is a good example of common sense coming to the fore and using some experience in this policy to review and make the policy a lot better in terms of the customer and in terms of the officers," Cr van de Ven said.
IN OTHER NEWS:
To seek what is a maximum reduction of 50 per cent, those affected need to complete an application that shows the water leak was repaired within 30 days of a customer learning of its existence or an account being sent.
A statement or invoice from a licensed plumber indicating the cause and position of the leak has to accompany the application along with documentation showing a full check has been done to determine there are no other cracks.
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