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The Department of Water and Sanitation has hauled a Clanwilliam farmer to court following allegations of unlawful water activities.

The farmer is facing five charges which include failure to meet the requirements for issuance of a licence before constructing a dam with safety risk; failure to produce a licence to construct a category 2 dam with safety risk before construction; and failure to register and to submit an application to register dams with a safety risk within 120 days to the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) after completion of the dam.

He allegedly contravened Section 49A of the National Environmental Management Act (Nema)107 of 1998 by developing infrastructure for the off-stream storage of water.

This includs dams and reservoirs with a combined capacity of 50000m3, and by developing a dam where the highest part of the dam wall is 5m higher, said the department.

“This comes when the province is battling the worst drought in decades and has declared a national disaster.

“DWS opened a criminal case against Tierhoek Boerdery Pty (Ltd) in Wildschutskraal-Clanwilliam early this year.

"This was after the department conducted the first ‘Enforcement and Monitoring Blitz’ in the West Coast region during Enforcement Month in 2017,” said the department.

Enforcement Month is celebrated annually by the department during November.

Over this period, DWS, working with Cape Nature, the Department of Environmental Affairs Development and Planning visited 25 properties in the region to verify water use versus water allocations, after the local Water User Associations and individuals reported suspected unlawful water use activities.

This triggered the department to act.

DWS director of regulation Boniswa Hene said during the “blitz period” the department and its partners uncovered some activities that were against the National Water Act 36 of 1998 Dam Safety Regulations and National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998.

The case has been postponed until August 14.

The average level for dams across the Western Cape for this week was at 18.2%.

Anton Bredell, MEC of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, has urged consumers in the city council and other drought-stricken municipalities not to slow down their water-saving efforts.

Water consumption in the city was 72 million litres over the 450 million collective daily usage target.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said water management devices would continue to be installed on the connections of high water users, and “teams are working around the clock to detect and repair leaks”.

Level 6B water restrictions also remain in place.

Cape Times