Ashanti Lodge co-owner said he would conduct his own investigation. Picture: Cape Times

Cape Town – The owners of a guest lodge in the CBD are being investigated by the Department of Water and Sanitation for using 800 litres of fresh mountain water to fill their pool.

Ashanti Lodge in Hof Street, Gardens, recently boasted on social media that due to the drought plaguing the metro, they used water from Table Mountain.

They said it was their part in saving water.

Acting chief executive of the Berg-Olifants Proto Catchment Management Agency Ashia Petersen said on Thursday taking water from a resource like a river or well-point was a contravention of the National Water Act, and serious offence with criminal consequences.

“All water usage must be exercised in accordance with this Act. If the lodge takes water directly from a resource (river, borehole or even well-point), the owners/operators should have obtained permission from the National Department of Water and Sanitation."

"Contravention of the Act is a serious offence with severe consequences. The department encourages people to first familiarise themselves with relevant legislation before engaging in activities (taking water from a water resource, constructing small dams or diverting rivers and impeding the flow in rivers),” Petersen said.

The department will now investigate, issue a directive for the owners to stop the activity and, if they continue, it will initiate criminal proceedings, Petersen said.

Co-owner Craig Johnstone said he was unaware of the legislation.

He said although their bill was massive every month, it was not about the money.

“I figured in this drought it would be good to use the water, which is going to waste,” Johnstone said.

Pushed for comment on the investigation, Johnstone said he has a house on the Breede River which is not connected to municipal water supply, and he has the capacity to store 16 000 litres of fresh water a month.

Johnstone said he would do his own investigation into the legality of water use.

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Cape Times