How to Trace a Water Leak – the Rother Way

Perhaps the Rye Allotments will soon be back under the control and ownership of Rye Town Council. This example of money wasting will then no longer happen.

Information collected by the Love Lane allotment holders.

(First published in Rye’s Own, summer 2006)

Site Visit 1

A plot holder observes a council official on the Love Lane allotment site. The council officer explains that he is looking for the source of a water leak from the underground pipes feeding the water troughs. This is suspected because of a rise in the water bill. The gardener says that he has known the site for many years and offers his assistance in locating any problem. The offer of assistance is rejected.

Site Visit 2

Some days later, a second plot holder observes two council officers on site. They are looking for the source of a water leak and are soon joined by a contractor with a spade. The officers tell the contractor where to dig. They are apparently unsuccessful in their lengthy search and leave.

Site Visit 3

Some days later, three gardeners observe two council officers on site. The officers are joined by a man driving an orange digger. The officers tell the contractor where to dig. When approached, the officers tell the gardener that they are looking for the source of a water leak. No, they do not have a map showing the location of the pipes and no, they have not contacted the water company.

Yes, they admit, they are digging holes on spec. The gardeners point out that the officers’ chosen patch of ground has always been wet because of the nature of the terrain and that this wetness is unlikely to indicate leakage from a pipe. However, the officers decide to continue their digging. At some point a third official joins them on site. The search remains unsuccessful. Tape is placed around the only result of their labours, a hole, approximately 4ft x 3ft, conveniently located on the only vehicular access route, and the working party leaves.

Site Visit 4

Some days later, two other plot holders observe contractors filling in the hole. Gardeners later find that the water supply to the troughs has been turned off.

Site Visit 5

Notices are posted on the allotment gates informing gardeners of the leak. Rother’s investigations have failed to locate the source. The notice informs them that a contractor will visit the site daily to turn the water on for a sufficient time to fill the water troughs. Then the contractor will turn the supply off again.

New pipes will need to be laid at a later date.

NB There may be other visits that we don’t know about.

Question: What was the cost of this exercise to the council taxpayer?

Answer: Unknown

(The allotment holders later found the source of the water leak themselves. It was outside the allotment boundary. Cost to council taxpayers of this exercise=£0)

“Rye’s Own” May 2008

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