A NAMBOUR businessman has been billed $19,000 for more than nine million litres of water that leaked from a broken water pipe on his Howard St property when
Unitywater turned the mains tap on after it replaced the water meter.
The flow of water at the rate of 62,088 litres a day for 148 days was so great it undermined the foundations of the adjacent Paint City and Repco buildings causing structural weaknesses and roof damage that cost $35,000 to repair.
The water loss occurred from January 17, last year immediately after Unitywater officers visited the vacant block that had not been used for about seven years to install the new meter under its Proactive Meter Replacement Program.
Before that date there had been no water usage recorded for at least the two billing periods.
Despite the huge volume of water that was lost at the rate of a litre a second, no water came to the surface.
Despite the circumstances Unitywater is insisting Fylmar Pty Ltd, a company owned by businessman and philanthropist Ray Grace, settle the account for $19,496.08 by February 29.
It has also required he lodge a plumbing application with council and apply to Unitywater to have the water disconnected.
Unitywater yesterday evaded questions on the issue.
"Unitywater is currently investigating this situation," it said in a statement. "Out of respect for our customers and to protect their privacy, we do not discuss details of a customer's account in a public forum."
Mr Grace said he had no intention of paying the outstanding amount.
He has also instructed his solicitor to pursue Unitywater for the cost of the $35,000 worth of damages done to the adjacent building of which he is a part owner and body corporate chairman.
Mr Grace once owned one of the Sunshine Coast's largest car dealerships and has supported the region for more than 40 years.