Mayor springs a major leak

Waipa Mayor Jim Mylchreest finds a water leak.

Waipa mayor Jim Mylchreest is urging residents to check their pipes for water leaks after his latest water bill showed a massive increase in use.

The first of two mock water meter bills will hit Cambridge mail boxes in the next few weeks, showing how much water households used in the last quarter of 2017 or since the meter was last read. The mock bills will show what the cost of that water will be once charging begins and will enable water users to compare their use with similar households.

Mock bills were sent to the western side of the district earlier this month.
Mylchreest did not receive a mock-bill as he has had a water meter since 1997.  Based on previous bills, he thought his household was “tracking along nicely”.  But he got a nasty shock when he received his latest ‘real’ bill and saw his use had more than quadrupled.

“Our bill went up from around $200 in the last quarter to around $1000 in our latest bill. I knew we couldn’t possibly have been watering the garden that much, so went hunting for the leak.”

“It took me a while but eventually I found a split pipe out in our back paddock. During a normal summer I would have noticed all the water, but because of all the rain a soggy patch of grass didn’t seem out of place.”

Mylchreest has now fixed the pipe and says he will be checking his water meter on a regular basis to keep an eye on his usage.

Waipa water services manager Tony Hale said the community response since sending out mock bills has been largely positive.  Many people have been pleasantly surprised that their costs were significantly less than expected, he said.

But he joined the mayor in urging residents to check for leaks in private pipes.

“Turn off all water using appliances and then check your water meter. If the dial is spinning despite all the water at your property being off, it’s likely you have a leak,” he said.

Fixing leaks in private pipes is the responsibility of property owners and Hale recommends contacting a registered plumber for advice.

“Leaks aren’t always obvious as our own mayor has found. If your mock bill is higher than you expected, now’s the time to get any issues sorted before the real bills kick in from 1 July.”

Both Hale and Mylchreest said Council was available to work directly with households with abnormally high water use.

“We’re here to help,” Hale said.

For more information, visit


Did you know?

5,353 mock water bills were delivered to households on the western side of the district in early February.

– More than half (2,850) of those households were better off for the quarter than they would have been under the old charging regime (i.e. the mock bill came to less than $101 for the quarter).

– 850 properties will see water recovery costs rise by about $100 per year based on current consumption. With a little effort, those households can bring their water use down. If so, their costs will stay about the same as under the old charging regime.

– About 30 per cent of consumers on the western side of the district will be worse off if they don’t either modify their water use or fix water leaks in private pipes. Council is working directly with heavy waters users to help drive water use down.

– 422 of the mock bills were sent to cross-leased properties, split between properties sharing a single connection. Of those, 85 per cent of cross-lease households were better off than they would have been under the old charging regime.

– 6,821 mock bills will be sent out to Cambridge households within the next few weeks.

More Recent News

Farewell to Jenny

She’s affectionately described as a school office legend. So there was no shortage of platitudes when Jenny Comer, who will soon retire after 22 years of service on the front desks of two Cambridge schools,…

Noumea on the horizon

Students at Cambridge High School are planning fund raising projects for a school trip in October next year. About 30 year 10 to 12 French studies students will head to Noumea, New Caledonia. Almost 99…

3Ms Development, Cambridge

Late for school ….

The tight construction market and supplier resourcing challenges have resulted in the Ministry of Education deciding to delay the opening of its new Cambridge West primary school by a year. Infrastructure and Digital leader Scott…

Work for Kneebone, Graf

Appointments were to be made to Waikato Regional Council committees today at its first meeting in Hamilton with the two Waipā-King Country constituency members set to pick up a heavy workload. In the agenda, chair…