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High water bills for British property owners

By LIZ GRIFFITHS and ELOISE WALTON [email protected]

Water bills received by British property owners in the Vale da Telha area in Aljezur have been described as “outrageous”.

Some as high as 2,600 euros have been levied by Aljezur Câmara, even though many of the villas have been unoccupied over the summer months.

With previous water bills only costing up to 100 euros, the excessive amount of money to be paid came as a surprise to many of the British property owners.

According to Barbara Hayes, who is based in Britain but visits her villa up to ten times a year, this has been going on for some time.

“The first problem we had was in June and July in 2007 when we received a bill for 2,605 euros, which was taken by direct debit from our bank account,” she said.

“By the time we received the bank statement another 1,905 euros had been taken from our account. We queried this with the Câmara, and they said someone was watering our garden – no one was watering our garden as during that particular period there had been a lot of rain.”

This July, Barbara received a bill for 440 euros, even though the only person who had occupied the villa was her daughter for three days.

“From June 16 to July 17 we received another bill for 480 euros but I have not paid this and the Câmara are threatening to cut off my water supply,” she said.

John Gibson, a British owner of a villa in Vale de Telha, told the Algarve Resident: “In June my water bill went up to 1,400 euros. Considering my other water bills ranged from seven to 100 euros it came as quite a shock.

“I have asked my lawyer to take up the matter with the Câmara but they just said the water meter was correct. It’s ridiculous because we have no choice but to pay this sum of money as the water will be cut off.”

A spokesman from Aljezur Câmara told the Algarve Resident: “We have received complaints and we have answered them. Normally high water bills are due to problems with irrigation systems or systems that are left on for too long.”

The spokesman added that high water bills may be due to leaks, but when these are reported they are dealt with quickly.

The Câmara advises anyone who receives a bill that is higher or lower than usual should contact the Câmara as soon as possible to resolve the situation.

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