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Bad debtors’ water supply to be restricted

Geoff Helisma |

A draft Clarence Valley Council (CVC) policy aims to reduce the number of people who have bad debts for non payment of water accounts.

The council is seeking public comment on measures to control and manage outstanding water debts for water, sewer and liquid trade waste charges.

One of the measures in the draft policy is to install a water restrictor in an attempt to recover unpaid debts before legal action is considered.

The draft policy, however, includes exemptions to where water restrictors can be installed, which are: eligible pensioners as defined by CVC’s ‘Rates – pensioner concessions’ policy; rural properties with animals, kidney dialysis patients; hospitals; schools, pre-schools; and, retirement home installations.

Installing a water restrictor would occur if, for various reasons, an agreement to pay an overdue account is not reached within 66 days of a water bill being issued.

The draft policy also proposes to reduce the time to clear a debt from 12 months to three months.

The council’s general manager, Ashley Lindsay, said in a media release: “As water accounts are issued quarterly, this amendment is intended to reduce the unpaid accounts so that the last account is paid off before the next account is issued.”

Once the 66-day period is reached and a second reminder notice has been ignored and no arrangement has been made to pay the account, the draft policy states that “a letter will be hand delivered by two water meter readers to the address, advising that a water restrictor will be placed on their water meter … if the account is not settled within 48 hours of the date on the letter”.

The draft Debt Recovery – Water Billing policy should be available for 28 days at from this Friday October 5.

If no public comments or submissions are received, the policy will be adopted without further consideration by councillors.