WATER BY-LAW 2010 AND WATER AMENDMENT BY-LAW 2017: KNOW YOUR WATER REGULATIONS - EVERY DROP COUNTS –

by on 05-11-2018 in News from advertisers

WATER BY-LAW 2010 AND WATER AMENDMENT BY-LAW 2017: KNOW YOUR WATER REGULATIONS  - EVERY DROP COUNTS –

Water is one of the most vital elements on earth. All plants and animals must have water to survive. If there was no water, there would be no life on earth. “Water is the driving force of all nature” (quote by Leonardo da Vinci).  
 
We open the tap, and we expect clean drinking water to flow. In the past, “for many of us, clean water [was] so plentiful and readily available that we rarely, if ever, pause to consider what life would be like without it” (quote by Marcus Samuelsson). 
 
Due to inadequate rainfall and declining dam levels, Western Cape has reached the most severe drought in all of its time. Cape Town’s damns are near to empty leaving water crises to rise.  In February 2018, the City of Cape Town implemented Level 6 water restrictions in a means to prevent Day Zero.  Day Zero is when the last drops of water in our reserves are completely depleted leaving our taps to run dry resulting if negative effects to our environment; health; economy and civil society. 
 
We as residents have understood the water crisis and have lessened water use. However, usage is still high. Level 6 water restrictions is a result to water use levels not declining to adequate heights. 
 
Whether we like it or not, Western Cape must acknowledge the danger it is now facing.  We hear about the Water By-Law 2010 and Water Amendment By-Law 2017, but do 
we really understand what it is about?  To assist in understanding the legislation and consequences thereof, I have briefly set out my understanding of it below. 
 
 
1. WATER MANAGEMENT DEVICES  
 
Level 6 restrictions are now in place which is stricter and manages those use more municipal drinking water more than the specified limits, which will be prioritised for enforcement.  This enforcement will be through having water management devices installed.   
The Water By-law allows the City of Cape Town, at the cost of the owner of the property, to install or require the installation of metering for any unit in the complex or property.  This system will help the City of Cape Town’s customers to save water and to manage their monthly water bills as wells as help the City of Cape Town to manage debt.  
This device will help owners of property to recognize any leakages and have them fixed, instead of ending up an enormous water bill and then being incapable to paying it.  
 
2. RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES   
 
2.1. LIMIT 
 
A person, whether at work, home, school or elsewhere is limited to 50 litres or less per person. 
 
2.2. LANDLORDS AND TENANTS 
 
Properties that have a higher number of tenants can justifiably use more water than properties with less occupants. For consideration for an increase in daily limit, household can apply for an increase the apportionment of water due to the number of tenants occupying the residential property.  
 
Property owners of leased property are accountable for all water fixings on the property, while the tenant is responsible for any consumption or misuse of water.  

 
Should there be a leak or any other problems involving the water usage or leaks, it is the owner’s obligation to hire the amenities of a registered plumbing servicer to attend to the problem, at the owner’s fee.  
 
2.3. SECTIONAL TITLE OWNERS 
 
Unfortunately, although sectional title owners have made attempts to save water, they could still be penalised if other owners in their complex continue to be wasteful.   
 
The City will monitor these residential complexes and will be information on the number of units in each complex which will be identified and prioritised for enforcement. Depending on the circumstances, this may include fines and/or the installation of a water management device at the cost of the account holder.  
 
Cluster developments with units where the number of occupants necessitates higher usage are encouraged to apply for a quota increase.   
 
2.4. BODY CORPORATES AND HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS 
 
Body corporates and homeowners’ associations has a duty to encourage water saving and, where necessary, take action against unit holders who misuse water. Where possible, submetering ought be fitted in order to monitor the usage of all distinct units.   
 
3. COMMERCIAL, INDUSTRIAL AND OTHER NON-RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES 
 
Non-residence is to use less than 45% of their pre-drought billings.  This usage will be equated to the equivalent period in 2015. Fines will be issued for every month that the 45% reduction is not achieved.   
 
3.1. BUSINESS OWNERS 
 
As business owners, businesses consumption could increase above the 45% threshold due to demand or increase of business relations as from 2015 and to expect to use less than 2015 usage could be unrealistic.   
Should an increase be required, non-residential customers may motivate by means of an Affidavit to the City of Cape town for to increase their allocation beyond 45% reduction limits. 
 
3.2. AGRICULTURAL LAND OWNERS 
 
Businesses are not the only sector that will be affected.  All agricultural users are to reduce usage by 60% equated with the equivalent period in 2015 (pre-drought).   
 
“Water is a finite resource that is essential in the advancement of agriculture and is vital to human life” (quote by Jim Costa). The agriculture sector will affect all spheres of the non-residential and residential residents in that this is one of our primary sectors which fulfils our necessities of food source as well as sustains our economy.  
 
Nevertheless, fines will not be dispensed founded on projected appraisals (only on actual readings) or where a problem arose with the meter.   
 
4. FINES 
 
Although water charges will increase in means to force consumers to use less water, one must ask if this will be enough to reduce consumption.  
 
“[A] message has to be sent that if you commit a crime there [will] be punishment” (quote by Benigno Aquino III). 
 
In order to ensure that we work together and forced to take the seriousness of water shortage, City of Cape Town has enforced fines to discourage misuse of water. 
 
Spot fines can be up to R5 000 in terms of the Water By-law.  
 
Homes using more than the usage limit of water per month and exceed their usage limits of water will be issued firstly with a warning letter which will inform them that they are contravening the Level 6 water restrictions.   Thereafter an inquiry will be done and then the owners of the property can be summonsed to appear in court which may lead to a fine, and/or have a water management device connected.  This fee of the meter will be payable by the owners of municipal account.  
 
Fines can be recirculated if the usage remains more than 10 500 litres of water per month.  
 
5. WHAT IS PERMITTED AND WHAT IS NOT PERMITTED? 
 
5.1. IRRIGATION SYSTEMS AND WATERING – ILLEGAL 
 
Irrigation or watering with municipal drinking water is illegal. Usage for irrigation purposes will be limited to an all-out of one hour only on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 09:00 and after 18:00. Though, please note that use of hoses and irrigation systems linked to another water sources (such as grey water systems and rainwater tanks) is permissible. 
 
5.2. BOREHOLES AND/OR WELLPOINTS – LEGAL IF REGISTERED 
 
Outdoor usage of boreholes is discouraged for outside purposes as this is to reserve groundwater resources.  There is no charge for using borehole or Wellpoint water.   
 
Borehole or Wellpoint water use must be metered and all users are required to keep records and have these available for inspection. 
 
If you wish to sink in a new borehole or Wellpoint, you will need to apply and obtain permission from the national Department of Water and Sanitation.  Regardless of whether you wish to sell or buy a borehole or Wellpoint water, you or your contractor will still need to apply. As soon as connected, the borehole or Wellpoint must be registered and the sign should be displayed with the obtained registration number. 
  
Wellpoints and Boreholes must be registered. The registration is free and signage is provided free on registration.  
 
5.3. HOSING DOWN OF PAVED SURFACES WITH MUNICIPAL DRINKING WATER - ILLEGAL 
 
No one may use municipal drinking water to hose down paved surfaces or hire power washing driveways companies.  The Municipalities uses non-drinking water for Municipal street-cleaning.   
 
5.4. WASHING OF VEHICLES, TRAILERS, CARAVANS OR BOATS WITH MUNICIPAL DRINKING WATER - ILLEGAL.  
 
This applies to private washing, as well as formal and informal car washdowns. Cars must be washed with non-drinking water’ cleaned with waterless products or dry steam cleaning processes. Washing down petrol station forecourts is not allowed with municipal drinking water.   
 
Yes, as frustrating as it is to drive a dirty car, this is unfortunately what we must sacrifice. You will get the odd person who then says, well then “Can I pull my vehicle along the side of a river and wash it with bucket water on the river bank”.  The answer is simple – NO!.    “It not only pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it” (quote by Dan Quayle).  The impact   of using the river banks to wash anything would impend on the environmental life of our ecosystem. Rivers are considered part of a stormwater system, so uproar of the river banks are acts in direct violation of the Stormwater Management By-law.   
 
5.5. SWIMMING POOLS WITH MUNICIPAL DRINKING WATER - ILLEGAL  
 
Swimming pools may not be full or topped up with municipal drinking water - even if fitted with a pool cover. This includes filling new pools; portable pools or refilling an existing pool after a repair.  
 
A chemical/liquid pool cover may be used to aid limit evaporation from the pool. However, this type of pool cover may not be as operative as a conservative pool cover, particularly in blowy areas.  
 
5.6. WATER FEATURES - ILLEGAL. 
 
Spray parks and sprinkler systems are not allowed to operate under Level 6 restrictions    
 
5.7. USING FIRE HYDRANTS – ILLEGAL 
 
Using fire hydrants, by anyone, for anything other than their intended purpose without permission is an illegal act (refer to section 55 of the Water By-law) so is water wastage (refer to section 37 of the Water Bylaw) and such contraventions will be dealt with in accordance with existing legal processes in terms of section 64 of the Water By-law.  
 
5.8. GREY WATER TO WATER LAWN – LEGAL 
 
Grey water is relatively clean waste water from baths, sinks, washing machines, and other kitchen appliances.   
There are no restrictions on watering times when using grey water. However, you must show visible signage averring that you are using nondrinking water to water your garden. This must be clearly visible from a public street.  
 
5.9. WATERING AGRICULTURAL OR VEGETABLE GARDENS WITH MUNICPAL WATER – ILLEGAL 
 
No irrigation or watering using municipal drinking water is permitted. This also applies to vegetable gardens and agricultural within the Cape Town area.   
 
I have just briefly outlined some of the points in the Water-by law (“Act”).  This Act aim is to help prevent Day Zero, which will ensure that we have water until the drought ends.  Remember “You are 60% water. Save 60% of YOURSELF.” (quote by Ban Kimoon). 
(NOTE: this article is for information purposes only. Each case depends on merits of matter and should be consulted with an attorney) 

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