The Waikato District Council and two other local bodies have formed an action group to stop water thieves.
Trucks illegally taking water have been caught on camera and the photos circulated to the three councils – Waikato and Waipa districts and Hamilton city.
In one incident some Waipa residents had no water after rogue water takers drained the network in one street.
“Waikato District Council allows tankers to take water from hydrants throughout the district provided they have a registered hydrant standpipe,” says Waikato District Council Service Delivery General Manager, Tim Harty.
“People who don’t have a registered hydrant standpipe and illegally take water cause risks to public health, affect security of water pressure for ratepayers and potentially restrict access for fire-fighting.
“This campaign will look to make it fairer for businesses who are paying for water from the official take points and who are essentially competing with others who make no contribution to the costs of supplying the water taken from the hydrants,” Harty said.
The dual enforcement and education campaign will encourage people to report any illegal water takes, particularly during water restriction periods during the expected challenging summer ahead.
Each council has slightly different systems and procedures, however all three have bylaws prohibiting the unauthorised drawing of water from fire hydrants. Letters are being sent to known water carriers in the three-council region and council staff are monitoring problematic sites.