‘Chancers’ face steep fines for wastage

Theewaterskloof Dam - one of the dams that supplies water to Cape Town - is drying up. Pictures: Ian Landsberg, Cindy Waxa

Residents who flout the City’s tougher water restrictions will be dealt with “and it won’t be pretty”.

At a meeting of the Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association on Thursday January 26, Donovan Williams, the City’s assistant water conservation officer, responded to concerns that enforcement of water restrictions had been lacking. He said there were residents who were strict when using water, but there were others who were “taking chances”.

“We are seriously going to make sure people comply, and it’s not going to be pretty,” he told the meeting.

Earlier on Thursday, council approved tougher Level 3B water restrictions, brought on by severe drought and dam levels below 40 percent.

In a statement, Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy, said Cape Town was still using 80 million litres more than the 800 million litres daily target.

With the tighter restrictions, watering gardens, parks, sports fields is only allowed on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 9am or after 6pm, for a maximum of an hour a day, with a bucket or watering can.

No watering is allowed within 48 hours of rainfall that gave “adequate saturation”.

Municipal drinking water cannot be used to wash vehicles or boats, only non-potable water or commercial car washes.

The City said no potable water would be used to irrigate its facilities.

Ms Limberg said a higher spot fine of R5000 had been proposed for transgressors. Blitzes would continue and a reality check lay in store for the 20000 heaviest water users in the metro. “The majority of these users are households in formal residential areas and have been identified as consuming 50kl a month. Prior to the water restrictions coming into effect, the average use per household used to be well under 1000 litres per day or below 30 kilolitres per month,” said Ms Limberg.

At the ratepayers’ meeting, Vasco resident Dave Beelders wanted to know why the City had not come down harder on errant users. “Why are you pleading with the people? It’s not going to work,” he said.

Mr Williams said the City did not have the manpower to police compliance, but it was trying its best to educate people about the situation.

The association’s vice-chairman, Pastor Jan Bezuidenhout, said he had put bricks in the toilet cisterns at his church to reduce water usage and he had preached from the pulpit about saving water.

The City has asked residents to report transgressions by email to: water.restrictions@capetown.gov.za