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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2212

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The company shall cause pipes to be laid down and water to be brought to every part of the town or district within the limits of their special Act, whereunto they shall be required by so many owners or occupiers of houses in that part of the town or district, as that the aggregate amount of water rate payable by them annually at the rates specified in the special Act shall not be less than one-tenth part of the expense of providing and laying down such pipes; provided that no such requisition shall be binding on the company unless such owners or occupiers shall severally execute an agreement binding themselves to take such supply of water for three consecutive years at least. The supply to be constantly laid on at such pressure as will make the water reach the top storey of the highest houses, unless it be otherwise provided by the special Act. On failure to supply the water upon such conditions within twenty-eight days after demand in writing, the company to forfeit to each such owner or occupier the amount of rate which he would be liable to pay under his agreement and 405. for each day the company are in default, unless the non-supply of water be due to frost, unusual drought, or other unavoidable cause or accident.

Consumption of Water.—The following provisions may be taken to be of general application:—

On payment, or tender, of the current rate, the occupier of premises to which water is laid on is entitled to a supply for domestic purposes. If he desires to have water for other purposes he must comply with the company's requirements as to extra fittings and payment, etc.

"Domestic purposes" primarily includes washing, drinking, cooking and use for sanitary purposes. The washing of horses and carriages kept by a private person is primarily a domestic purpose. That which is primarily a domestic purpose may, however, and often is, limited by the terms of the company's special Act. The use of water for watering a garden, or for a fountain or any other ornamental purpose is not a domestic purpose.

The question does not depend on the nature of the house, but the purpose for which the water is used. Thus a boarding-house or a school, though carried on by way of business, is entitled to a supply of water for domestic purposes as if it were a private house.

Duties of the Consumer.—Consumers must take care to keep their taps and fittings in good repair, and prevent the waste or misuse of water. Wilful or negligent failure to do so renders a consumer liable to a penalty not exceeding £5, and to be charged with the expense of remedying the defect if the work be done, as it may be, by the company.

The inspectors of the company have the right to enter the premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of examining the state of the pipes and fittings, etc., and a penalty not exceeding £5 attaches to a refusal to admit them. On breach of any duty imposed on the consumer the supply of water may be cut off.

Water Rate.—The water rate is charged according to the annual value of the premises, and is payable quarterly, in advance.

Owners of houses of which the annual value does not exceed £10 are liable for the payment of the water rate instead of the occupier.

Where an outgoing tenant gives up possession of the premises between two quarter days he is liable for the whole quarter's rate. But where an incoming tenant enters between two quarter days he is only liable for a proportionate part of the quarter's rate. And upon payment or tender of such proportionate part of the rate he is entitled to be supplied notwithstanding that arrears are due to the company from the outgoing tenant. If, however, the company, in the exercise of their right (as to which, see following paragraph), have previously cut off the supply for non-payment of such arrears, the incoming tenant may have either to restore the communication, or to pay, or tender, the cost thereof.