Publican's shock at $6000 water bill

CRAIGNISH Country Club and pub owner Greg Harding found himself in an unwelcome bucketful of hot water when he opened his council rates notice and looked at his water consumption bill.

“It is $6502,” an incredulous Mr Harding said yesterday.

“And that’s because I’ve put two little water fountains on my golf course to help thirsty golfers get round the fairways.”

Mr Harding’s previous four-month water bill was $135.63.

“The one before that was $127.40,” he said.

“I looked at the $6502 and thought, ‘Good lord, I’ve got a herd of elephants out there hitting holes in one with their trunks every day these last four months’ – and then quenching their thirst accordingly.”

But the real culprit turned out to be an underground pipe, which was quietly leaking.

“I went around the course listening and found it pretty quickly and I fixed it but that didn’t extinguish my $6000 bill,” Mr Harding said.

The publican telephoned the council for help but says he was “passed from one person to another and then they told me it was my problem and there was nothing they could do”.

“My argument is, what about these smart meters Wide Bay Water has installed? Don’t they check them regularly through their computers for leaks like this?” he asked.

Wide Bay Water acting CEO Peter Care yesterday said: “This incident is a graphic reminder to property and business owners that it is their responsibility to monitor their water usage. They are liable for all water which passes through their meter – whether it has been put to good use or gone to waste”.

“Monitoring usage is easily done by periodically reading the water meter which is usually located at the front boundary,” Mr Care said.

“This is certainly an extremely large increase in consumption for the Craignish Country Club.

“In fact the usage over the three-month period in question equates to 4.5Ml. That’s a lot of water. Enough to fill two Olympic swimming pools and then some.

“We would be happy to meet with Mr Harding to discuss the circumstances that led to the usage. Our pricing is set by our board and the council. If there are adequate grounds we may be able to refer this case to them for review.”

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