Risk of water ‘poachers’ contaminating drinking water supplies
People illegally tapping into the district’s water reticulation through fire hydrants are putting residents’ at risk, says Mayor Jenny Rowan.
“We are aware of large draw-offs of water through illegal connections, usually from water fire hydrants. This illegal activity needs to stop,” says Mayor Rowan.
“The people doing this don’t realize they could inadvertently contaminate the water supply if there is a reverse flow elsewhere on the line. The experts tell me this could happen if the water pressure changes through a legitimate large use of water elsewhere in the system.”
Illegal taking of drinking water from the Council network can also lead to damaged pipes and fittings through what is known as ‘water hammer’ when air enters the high pressure system.
It was also putting more pressure on overall water consumption figures.
“Our goal is to reduce water use to a peak target of 400 litres per person per day. Large-scale illegal water draw-downs make it that much more difficult to achieve such targets.”
Council had the ability to identify “spikes” in water usage. “If we catch people making illegal connections, we will take legal action.”
Illegal connections were usually made by businesses, not private individuals, she said.
“There is no need for people to break the law as Council has established water filling points at Council depots where water carriers can fill up through back flow prevention devices, using a swipe card system.
“If anyone sees a water hydrant being used by parties other than the Fire Service or Council staff, please phone our call centre with details [Tel. (04) 296 4700]and we will follow up straight away.”
Mayor Rowan said there was anecdotal evidence to suggest that some of the illegal bulk water tappings were from operators to the north of Kapiti. “If this is the case, then those operators are especially cheeky as they are taking water off our residents who have funded the infrastructure network.”