Peter Scott shows off the water meter on his property in Metchosin. Scott is on the hook for a $1,000 water bill to the Capital Regional District for a recent water leak. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

Metchosin resident stuck with hefty water bill after leak

Issue has been resolved, but resident hopes incident acts as cautionary tale for others

A Metchosin resident is warning others after he was stuck with a bill for hundreds of dollars after a recent water leak.

Peter Scott received a $6,000 water bill from the Capital Regional District (CRD) after a CRD meter reader notified them of the leak near the water box located at the top of his driveway last week.

Scott immediately shut off the water and had a plumber come and fix the leak on the same day. The leak occurred from a cracked fitting on the metre. Scott’s home is below street level and with all the rain in recent weeks, there was no way to see it. Scott estimates the leak occurred about two months ago and leaked as much water as the family uses in two years.

A few days later, Scott received a bill for $6,000.

“You get a real pit in your stomach because that’s not affordable,” said Scott, noting the CRD dropped the bill to $3,000 and then again to $1,000. His regular bill, which has been the same for more than a decade, is $60 every two months.“That’s still $1,000 for us … that just means no vacation. To tell us that was just jarring and petrifying. What were we supposed to have done to avoid this?”

According to the CRD’s website, the best way to check for a leak is to use the home’s water meter. Residents should shut off all water-using appliances and fixtures, remove the lid, which is usually concrete or metal and about 10 by 15 inches, from the meter box. The website says residents must “play detective” to find the source of the leak.

The CRD said the issue has since been resolved, but Scott hopes his story will serve as a cautionary tale to other residents.

“People would be surprised to learn that something’s that out by the road that they have no way of knowing about, could end up costing them this amount of money, and that the CRD would hold them responsible for it, even though the CRD doesn’t give them any practical way of preventing it,” he said. “You have to lift the cover off the box and it’s a man hole cover. Your average senior citizen isn’t going to be able to pull that up.”

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