Haywood Road residents ask for privacy

The City is clamping down on water wasters, but the recent release of the list of the citys top water consumers, as part of a name and shame campaign, has caused some upset..

Since the recent release by the City of Cape Town, of the top 100 water consumers, residents of Haywood Road, Crawford have appealed to the public – and the media – to respect their privacy.

The list, released on Monday February 27 as part of a name and shame campaign, identified a Haywood Road residence as city’s top water user – with 702 000 litres in a month. Also on the list were properties in Manenberg Avenue where 655 000 litres of water were used in a month, Boundary Road in Lansdowne, 557 000; Thames Avenue in Manenberg, 230 000 litres; Bromley Road in Athlone, 219 000 litres; Khalfe Road in Athlone, 217 000 litres; and one in Belgravia Avenue in Lansdowne where 211 000 litres were used in one month.

The list caused a flurry of discussion on social media, and during a radio interview on Wednesday March 1, mayoral spokeswoman Zara Nicholson said the City had discovered an underground leak on the premises of the Haywood Road property late the night before. But by that time, she said, the data naming and shaming the top 100 water consumers had already been released to the public.

Ms Nicholson said the City would be going to out to each of the houses to check for leaks at properties which people don’t know of.

The following day, however, the City released a statement saying that not one of the households on the list had reported a leak “through the City’s many channels or sought any kind of assistance from the City” and that any leaks on private property were the responsibility of the property owner.

“It must be borne in mind that the responsibility lies with residents to monitor their water bills, to identify leaks – even if these emanate from underground pipes on their property – and to have them repaired,” said the City’s media manager, Priya Reddy. “Leaks constitute consumption: the bigger the leak, the higher the consumption.

“The City is only mandated to maintain the pipes up until the boundary of privately owned properties.”

When the Athlone News visited the house in Haywood Road on Saturday March 4, the residents refused to speak to us.

On Monday the Cape Times published a letter in which the road’s residents urged the media and the public to respect their privacy and allow them to continue their day-to-day activities without being “harassed”.

The owner of the house in question also spoke to the paper on condition of anonymity.

“I did not intend for this matter to escalate to the extent that it has in the media and on social media. I would like to stress that my family and myself have done our utmost to conserve water during Cape Town’s drought.”

“We are conscious of the situation and have been, for example, neglecting our garden, which has been our pride and joy for the number of years we have been living in the area. Our property is well maintained, and this is the first time a leak has been detected.”

Saleem Gamza, neighbourhood spokesman said: “Neither the person concerned nor the neighbourhood sought to sensationalise this matter.

“Those concerned would like the matter to be resolved through the correct channels.”