Alastair Cook, city water compliance supervisor, reported to city councillors Wednesday that some city residents, even one major commercial customer, are stealing city water. “There are an average of six tampering incidents every month. Last year staff identified 81 incidents,” noted Cook.
“One large commercial industrial institutional (ICI) customer was caught,” said Cook.“They put a blow off pipe upstream from the water meter and were siphoning off 300,000 litres per day unmetered.”
That upset several city councillors who asked what happened to the offenders.
Cook said once caught, a letter is sent to the person or business. The offender is billed for a replacement meter if the meter is damaged or tampered with. This is usually the case with offending homeowners. Then the building or home is kept on file. If they do not pay up, eventually the amount is added to their taxes, said Cook.
Stronger bylaws are proposed, although water theft amounts to less than five per cent of the city’s total water production.