I'm renovating my kitchen, which is next to the water heater and service panel. I came across a bare 6 AWG bonding connector in the ceiling connecting the hot metal water pipe from the water heater to the grounding rod outside. This seems a bit odd.

If this is to comply with 250.104(A), why not just run it to the service panel right next to the heater instead of to the rod on the other side of the house? And shouldn't this be bonded to the cold water pipe as well?

If the water pipes are being used as a GE per 250.52(A)(1), why is this connecting to the hot water feed from the heater? This is also greater than 5 ft. from the point of entrance.

House was built in 1982, but I can't find the NEC that far back.