Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

#WaterCrisis: Nearly 14 000 fines, complaints processed

By Lisa Isaacs Time of article published Jan 25, 2018

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The City has processed some 13 850 water-related fines, contraventions, enquiries, complaints and revocations of exemptions since the implementation of Level 4 water restrictions in May last year.

The Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services, and energy, Xanthea Limberg, said the City’s water inspectorate co-ordinated the call-outs to alleged sites where contraventions were taking place.

“If an alleged water waster is caught in the act, action is taken. Much of the engagement is based on awareness as well, and mobilising communities to help the City,” said Limberg.

The City has encouraged those reporting alleged contraventions to include visual evidence to aid in the


“Action is taken on all reports received. This includes liaising with residents, issuing notices, fines or encouraging awareness,” Limberg said.

Repeated high and excessive users were liable for the installation of water management devices. The City is installing 2000 of these a week.

Water wasters will be issued with warnings, contravention notices, fines and the installation of water management devices on properties with repeated excessive usage.

Meanwhile, WWF SA has put the spotlight on groundwater in a bid to raise awareness about the water crisis and keep the public informed of developments ahead of Day Zero.

“At Level 6 water restrictions, the City discourages you from using groundwater to water your garden; rather save it for flushing toilets,” the WWF said.

If a lot of groundwater is abstracted close to the coast, there is a danger of seawater filling the aquifer and this water can’t be used by homeowners or farmers unless it is desalinated back to freshwater, the WWF said.

Cape Town has to monitor and manage this risk if boreholes are drilled below sea level.

“When we pump groundwater the water table drops, and boreholes pumping close to each other can interfere with each other and bring down the water table even more. “In extreme circumstances where lots of groundwater is removed, the aquifer itself can collapse and land subsidence occurs.

"Our groundwater store has been built up over decades by rainfall,” the WWF said.

It would be critical to develop a plan for homeowners, businesses and the City to have their fair share and use it within sustainable limits.

“Life beyond Day Zero will present exceptional circumstances, and we hope that emergency by-laws will be brought in to enable Capetonians to use and share groundwater with neighbours for more uses in order to relieve the burden on the City’s emergency points of distribution.”

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