EEK, I HAVE A LEAK
The municipal bill has arrived in the post. You open it leisurely, expecting to see a very low water account, after all, you have been saving water like crazy. WHAT…, how can this be? Forty kiloliters used for the month? It is impossible! You may have a leak… Consider claiming for a water leak rebate.
HOW DO I KNOW I HAVE A LEAK?
Do the quick leak test – ensure all taps are closed and no water is being used (no geysers filling up, washing machine being used, etc). Observe the water meter. All digits and dials must be stationary. Nothing must move. If any dial or digit moves ever so slightly, you probably have a leak. Call a plumber to fix the leak as soon as possible, as you will be held liable for the water loss.
OK, IT IS A LEAK AND I LOST A LOT OF WATER, NOW WHAT?
The City’s bylaws allow for a water leak rebate on undetected leaks. This means that a reduction will only be allowed for underground leaks, or ‘leaks that are not otherwise visible to the eye’, in the primary plumbing system of the property. Leaks on plumbing to convenience fixtures such as irrigation systems, automatic filling systems to ponds, pools, fountains, etc, where the disconnection of these systems from the primary plumbing installation would have prevented the water wastage in the first instance, are excluded.
Bottom line? – If the leak was not visible to the eye or underground, and originated from the primary plumbing system, then you may qualify for a water leak rebate.
WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS FOR A REBATE?
To qualify for a rebate, the following conditions will apply:
- An owner is limited to one rebate claim in respect of each property that he or she owns. So, you cannot claim for a leak at a specific property more than once.
- The cost of the wasted water will be shared equally between the City and the property owner, so the owner will always have to pay half.
- The cost of the water will be calculated at the bulk water cost plus the estimated actual distribution cost. The City will therefore not make a profit on the wasted water.
- The rebate will be calculated by comparing the average consumption over a corresponding period, to the increased consumption due to the leak. So, if your previous average consumption was 7KL per month, and the leak caused a consumption of 14KL, then the City will share the leak ‘induced’ wastage of 7KL with you.
- The rebate period will extend over the last three ‘actual reading’ municipal bills. The City believes that you should have noted the excessive water use within three months and taken steps to fix the leak within this period. In the case of estimated bills, this period may be extended. What this means is that if it took you five months to realise you have a leak, they will only consider a rebate on the first three months.
- To get a rebate, you will have to apply and pay for the installation of a water management device (WDM). This is to reduce the risk of further water losses from leaks.
- An inspector of the City will come to verify that the leak has been fixed, before any rebate will be approved.
Bottom line? If you are willing to accept all the above conditions, then you can go ahead and apply for a rebate.
I’M HAPPY, HOW DO I APPLY FOR THE WATER LEAK REBATE?
A qualified plumber needs to repair the leak. This plumber must supply you with a plumbing certificate (also known as Plumbers’ Report) detailing the following:
- Exact location of the leak on the property,
- The nature of the leak; and
- Steps taken to repair the leak.
Take this Certificate to your closest walk-in municipal office. Inform them you want to apply for a rebate due to an undetected leak. You are welcome to take your recent accounts with you, but they will do a verification on the system regardless. If you qualify, there will be a plethora of forms to be completed, including the application for a WDM.
Do not expect immediate action, an inspector will visit your property in due time to verify the quality of the leak repair. Only after he or she submitted their report (assuming the repair was done to his or her satisfaction), will the City finally approve the rebate.
SHOULD I DO ANYTHING ELSE? I AM A WATER SAVER AND DO NOT WANT TO GET A FINE…
This part is optional, but I did that when I had a leak and no fine was forthcoming…
I suggest you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and inform them that you had a leak and are not a serial water waster. Attach the plumbing certificate as proof and remember to include your account number. A short email will do – just inform them about the leak, ask them to make a note on your account and to provide you with a reference number. This should be sufficient to prevent a fine.
Disclaimer – if you were a high water user before the leak, this email will not assist in preventing a possible fine.