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The vesting of gratuitous sup
in the local
powers possessed by local authorities as to the supply of water.
JUST as sewers vest in an authority, so do all plies of water existing public cisterns, pumps, wells, reservoirs, conduits, aqueducts and works used for the gratuitous supply of water, and the authority may, if they choose, cause the same to be maintained and plentifully supplied with pure and wholesome water,' or may substitute or maintain other such works equally convenient, they may also, in the absence of a water company, or with the company's consent, construct such works for the gratuitous supply of water (Sect. 64 P.H., 1875).
Power as to water-mains.
ties, urban or rural, may
Similar again to the case of sewers, local authorities have the same powers, and are subject to the same restrictions, for carrying water-mains within or without their district as if the mains were sewers (P.H., 1875, sect. 54).
It is provided by Section 51, P.H., 1875
'Any urban authority may provide their district or any part thereof, and any rural authority may provide their district or circumstances any contributory place therein, or any part of any such conprovide a water tributory place, with a supply of water proper and sufficient for supply.
public and private purposes, and for those purposes, or any of them, may
(1) Construct and maintain waterworks, dig wells, and do other necessary acts; and
(2) Take on lease or hire any waterworks, and, with the sanction of the Local Government Board, purchase any waterworks or any water, or right to take or convey water, either within or without their district, and any rights, powers, and privileges of any water company, and
(3) Contract with any person for a supply of water.'
These powers are not, however, to be exercised, if a water company under statutory sanction exists, and the water company is 'able and willing to supply water sufficient for all reasonable purposes for which it is required by the local authority' (P.H., sect. 52, 1875.)
'may' in Sec
It will be noted that the word 'may,' and not For the word shall,' is used, hence the reader naturally con- tion 51, the cludes that the section is only permissive, but reference to Section 299 shows that although ' may' should be read. in its primary sense is only permissive and enabling; yet, if wholesome water is really required and can be procured, and the authority does not procure it, the 'may' becomes'shall;' for Section 299, P.H. Act, 1875, distinctly states that where
'complaint is made to the Local Government Board that a local authority has made default . . . in providing their district with a supply of water, in cases where danger arises to the health of the inhabitants from the insufficiency or unwholesomeness of the existing supply of water and a proper supply can be got at a reasonable cost, . . . the Local Government Board, if satisfied after due inquiry that the authority has been guilty of the alleged default, shall make an order
Meaning of the word water
Waterworks Clauses Act, 1863.
Waterworks Clauses Act, 1847.
limiting a time for the performance of their duty in the matter of such complaint.'
This order may be enforced by mandamus, or the Local Government Board may appoint some person to carry the duty out, and by order levy expenses and costs on the defaulting authority. The order for expenses may be enforced by Queen's Bench.
The ordinary meaning of the word 'waterworks' is a collecting and distributing station with suitable appliances for the supply of water, but the word in the Act means much more, for it includes
Streams, springs, wells, pumps, reservoirs, cisterns, tanks, aqueducts, cuts, sluices, mains, pipes, culverts, engines, and all machinery, lands, buildings, and things for supplying or used for supplying water, also the stock-in-trade of any water company.'
The Waterworks Clauses Act, 1863, and certain provisions of the Waterworks Clauses Act, 1847, are incorporated with the Public Health Act, 1875.
The Waterworks Clauses Act, 1863, is an Act which consolidates the usual provisions inserted in Acts relating to waterworks, and deals with a number of details relating to the supply of water, as to meters, the power to cut off water in certain cases, and it provides penalties for waste, for negligence in repair of pipes, for unauthorised extension or alteration of pipes, and so forth. The older Water Act of 1847 is also an Act of similar character to that of 1863, that is, it consolidates the provisions usually inserted in Water Companies' Acts; the sections incorporated are
Sections 28 to 74. The more important of these sections relate to the laying down of the communication or service pipes, power for this purpose being given on certain conditions both to undertakers and owners, there are also provisions with respect to waste or misuse, and as to fouling the water.
The supply of water to dwelling-houses. Urban authorities have somewhat less power to enforce a supply of water than rural authorities, for the latter have the advantage of the Public Health (Water) Act, 1878, an Act not in force in Urban Districts, unless by Order of the Local Government Board, an Urban Sanitary Authority has been invested with the power and duties of the Act (P.H. (Water) Act, 1878, sect 11.)
Section 62 of P.H., 1875 enacts:
and Rural Dis
able, and not too
the owner to obtain such
Where, on the report of the surveyor of a local authority, it In both Urban appears to such authority that any house within their district tricts if a is without a proper supply of water, and that such a supply of supply is availwater can be furnished thereto at a cost not exceeding the water- dear, the local authority is to rate authorised by any local Act within the district, or where give notice to there is not any local Act so in force, at a cost not exceeding twopence a week, or at such other cost as the Local Government supply. Board may, on the application of the local authority, determine under all the circumstances of the case to be reasonable, the local authority shall give notice in writing to the owner requiring him, within a time therein specified, to obtain such supply, and to do all such works as may be necessary for that purpose. If such notice is not complied with, within the time specified, the local authority may, if they think fit, do such works and obtain such supply, and for that purpose may enter into any contract with any water company supplying water within their district, and water-rates may be made and levied
The section applicable
on the premises by the authority or company which furnishes the supply and may be recovered, as if the owner or occupier of the premises had demanded a supply of water and were willing to pay water-rates for the same, and any expenses incurred by the local authority in doing any such works may be recovered in a summary manner from the owner of the premises, or may, by order of the local authority, be declared to be private improvement expenses.'
This section is in force both in Urban and Rural mainly to towns Sanitary Authorities, but in its operation it is mainly confined to Urban Districts, because the words
and not to
villages or country places.
Duty of Rural Sanitary Authorities to houses within
see that all
their district are supplied with water.
Procedure to compel owners of occupied houses to provide a supply.
furnished thereto,' taken with the latter end of the section, providing that water-rates may be made or levied on the premises by the authority or company which furnishes the supply,' evidently only refer to a supply from water-mains, and are not applicable to a well or wells.
A far more comprehensive power is given to Rural Sanitary Authorities by Section 3 of the Public Health (Water) Act, 1878: a section applicable also to urban authorities as before stated by Order of the Local Government Board.
The section states:
'It shall be the duty of every Rural Sanitary Authority, regard being had to the provisions in this Act contained, to see that every occupied dwelling-house within their district has, within a reasonable distance, an available supply of wholesome water sufficient for the consumption and use for domestic purposes of the inmates of the house.
Where it appears to a Rural Sanitary Authority, on the report of their inspector of nuisances, or their medical officer of health, that any occupied dwelling-house within their district has not such supply within a reasonable distance, and the authority are of opinion that such supply can be provided at a reasonable cost