A Mid-Levels residence whose water bills surged astronomically has blamed the Water Supplies Department's slow response for its mammoth HK$220,000 bill for the past two years. The normal annual water bill for the meter in question, at Phase 1 of Cliffview Mansions on Conduit Road, totals about HK$60,000. But on January 7 last year, the department adjusted their bill for January 2006-October 2007, asking for HK$100,000 on top of the HK$46,700 already paid. Other bills followed to raise the total. The caretaker, ISS EastPoint Property Management, wrote back 15 days later, asking if the water meter was faulty, but got no reply until May 30. The problem turned out to be leaky water pipes owned by the building. But ISS EastPoint told the South China Morning Post that the ministry's slow response delayed the company's inspection and repairs. With prompter notification that the water meter was accurate, repairs would have been done much earlier, said Alice Ma, assistant property manger. The company asked the Ombudsman to intervene in April this year, but it refused.