PROPER USE: Clarence Valley Council issue all water carters with a bright green pipe to take water from hydrants. People who witness anyone taking water from hydrants without this green pipe are urged to contact council.
PROPER USE: Clarence Valley Council issue all water carters with a bright green pipe to take water from hydrants. People who witness anyone taking water from hydrants without this green pipe are urged to contact council.

Water thieves sucking the life out of the Clarence

WATER thieves are being blamed for low water pressure around the Clarence Valley.

Over the past few weeks, Clarence Valley Council have received a number of calls from residents who have been experiencing low water pressure and have pointed the finger squarely at water thieves.

A council spokesperson said there had been an "unprecedented" amount of water being taken from the water supply to cope with bushfires and drought and not all of it had been above board.

Water theft ranged from people attaching hoses to park taps to "unapproved" water carting and the low water pressure could be "a direct result" of water being taken from unapproved hydrant locations by unapproved operators.

"We have been alerted to several incidents of unapproved water carters removing water from our water supply network in several locations across the Clarence Valley, it is likely that these water carters are onselling the water," the spokesman said.

"We have also been alerted to people attaching hoses to park taps and filling up large tanks on the back of utilities."

While most operators "do the right thing" there were clearly some people in the area who were taking water from those hydrants which hadn't been approved by council.

All registered water carters are provided with a list of those approved sites, chosen specifically to reduce impacts on residents, along with a bright green standpipe which attaches to the hydrant.

"All CVC issued standpipes are metered and the readings are reported quarterly to Council so that the water removed can be paid for," they said.

"Water carters that are not using a green metered standpipe are not paying for the water that is being removed from the water network."

"Also if you see people using park taps to fill large tanks then this is also considered water theft."

However, the spokesman noted the RFS can access any hydrants to remove water for firefighting purposes and both RFS and their contractors do not use the green standpipes.

"RFS provides a list of their contractors on a daily basis to Council and these contractors are not stealing water," the spokesman said.

Aside from the affect water theft had on council's budget and community water pressure, the spokesman said there was a health risk associated with unauthorised standpipes.

"Our approved standpipes have in-built backflow protection device which stops any chance of untreated water flowing back from the tank into the water supply via the standpipe."


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