Cape Town - Water from private boreholes is not meant for sale, the Department of Water and Sanitation has said.
In a statement this week, the department said it had become aware "of the tendency that has developed" to sell water from private boreholes.
"Any such sale would need a requisite licence to be applied for.
"It is therefore imperative to bring to the attention of all South Africans that private boreholes are meant to operate for the benefit of the occupants of the piece of land/property on which the borehole has been drilled.
"The recent practice of secondary trade of water particularly as observed currently in the Western Cape is therefore illegal," the department said.
"Private boreholes are for private use, for reasonable domestic use, and therefore not to be commercialised. Section 22 of the Water Services Act prohibits the transaction on water without authorisation/nomination as a water services intermediary by the relevant Water Services Authority. In the main the National Water Act remains the principal piece of legislation guiding any use of water in the country."
The Western Cape is in the grips of a water crisis with the dam levels standing at an effective 19%.
The City of Cape Town instituted Level 6 water restrictions from January 1 in a bid to help avoid Day Zero when most of the city's taps will be turned off and residents will have to queue for fresh water. This week Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille announced that according to current projections Day Zero had moved to April 22.
As part of the Level 6 restrictions, residents are discouraged from using borehole water for outdoor use, in a bid to preserve groundwater resources.
The City of Cape Town is retaining its water usage target of 87 litres per person per day and households that use more than 10.5 kilolitres a month will have a water management device fitted, at their cost.