Water Supplies Act, 1942

Power of a sanitary authority to enter on land.

17.—(1) Any officer or agent of a sanitary authority who is duly authorised in that behalf by such sanitary authority may, subject to the provisions of this section, enter on any land at all reasonable times for either of the following purposes, that is to say :—

(a) ascertaining whether an adequate supply of water can conveniently be taken from a particular source of water;

(b) repairing or maintaining any pipes, conduits or other works which are used by such sanitary authority for the purposes of a supply of water.

(2) A person entering on land under the foregoing sub-section of this section may do on such land all such things as are reasonably necessary for the purpose for which such entry was made and, in particular, may survey, make plans, take levels, set up gauges to record the flow of water, make excavations, and examine the depth and nature of the subsoil.

(3) Save for the purpose of carrying out urgent repairs, no person shall enter on any land under this section between the hours of 6 p.m. on any day and the hour of 9 a.m. on the following day.

(4) Before any person enters on any land under this section for a purpose other than the carrying out of urgent repairs, the sanitary authority on whose authority such entry is proposed to be made shall either obtain the consent (in the case of occupied land) of the occupier or (in the case of unoccupied land) the owner or shall cause not less than fourteen days' notice in writing of the intention to make such entry to be given to such occupier or such owner (as the case may be).

(5) Any person to whom a notice of intention to enter on land has been given under the next preceding sub-section of this section may, not later than fourteen days after the giving of such notice, apply to the justice of the District Court having jurisdiction in the district in which such land is situate, on notice to the sanitary authority by whom or on whose behalf such notice was given, for an order prohibiting the said entry on such land, and, upon the hearing of such application, such justice may, if he so thinks proper, either wholly prohibit such entry on such land or specify conditions to be observed by the person making such entry.

(6) Where a justice of the District Court prohibits under the next preceding sub-section of this section a proposed entry on land, it shall not be lawful for any person to enter on such land under this section, and where a justice of the District Court specifies under the said next preceding sub-section of this section conditions to be observed by persons entering on land under this section, every person who so enters on such land shall observe the conditions so specified.

(7) Any person who suffers damage by anything done on any land under this section and, within one month after such thing is done, makes to the sanitary authority on whose authority such land was entered under this section a claim for compensation in respect of such damage, shall be entitled to be paid by such sanitary authority reasonable compensation for such damage and to recover such compensation (when the amount thereof has been agreed upon or has been determined under the next following sub-section of this section) from such sanitary authority in any court of competent jurisdiction as a simple contract debt.

(8) In default of agreement, the amount of any compensation payable by a sanitary authority under the next preceding sub-section of this section shall, if the amount claimed in respect thereof does not exceed twenty pounds, be determined by the District Court or, in any other case, be determined by arbitration under the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919 (as amended by subsequent enactments) as if such compensation were the price of land compulsorily acquired.

(9) Every person who shall, by act or omission, obstruct an officer or agent of a sanitary authority in the lawful exercise of the powers conferred by this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding five pounds together with, in the case of a continuing offence, a further fine not exceeding one pound for every day on which the offence is continued.

(10) In this section, the expression “urgent repairs” means repairs the immediate carrying out of which is necessary to prevent a stoppage or diminution of the relevant supply of water or to prevent serious injury to persons or property.