I know you’ve probably heard about this by now, because Day Zero has surpassed traffic and bitcoin as the most talked about thing in Cape Town, but that date has shifted forward to April 12.
Worst drought in 100 years or not, we’re up to our necks in this one.
If you haven’t started making major changes in the way you use water then you’re really behind the eight ball, but there are certain changes Capetonians are making that are actually in violation of new water restrictions and old water by-laws.
The Daily Maverick have taken a look at six examples of this, so let’s see if you’re falling short of the mark on any of these fronts.
1. Stockpiling municipal water for Day Zero
With #DayZero – when residential taps are cut off – now virtually certain to arrive in Cape Town by April, the temptation to fill water containers and tanks in advance with tap water is high. But it is also illegal…The City encourages residents to store up to five litres for “drinking and basic hygiene”, but no more than that.
That one’s pretty simple.
2. Filling up a swimming pool from a hosepipe, tap, or any other municipal water source
By now this should be well known, but a glance at photographs of brimming swimming pools in Cape Town’s property ads suggests that it is still constantly being violated. You are now not allowed to fill up swimming pools from any municipal source, regardless of whether you have a pool cover or not. The City also strongly discourages the use of borehole water to fill pools even if you have your own borehole…
Guys, grow the f*ck up. I know you want your Airbnb to shine, or you just have to have a splash when you get back from work, but your privilege is showing and it’s nasty.
3. Buying and selling water privately
A plethora of businesses have sprung up, advertising their services on websites such as Gumtree, offering borehole water – or water of undisclosed provenance – for sale to fill up swimming pools in particular. The vast majority of these transactions are illegal. Water derived from private boreholes may not be sold commercially without the approval of the relevant water services authority…
Some of these businesses try to circumvent the legality aspect by advertising the water as free and explaining that the cost comes only from the transport bill – evidence that they do not have the required licences to sell water…
Just because you have a borehole on your land does not mean you can do as you please with the water…The 1998 National Water Act [defines] water as a “national resource”.
I know people have forked out big money to equip their houses with a borehole, but now is the time for responsible use.
4. Drilling a borehole without informing the municipality
An application to sink a borehole has to be made to the City 14 days prior to installation, and may subsequently require an inspection and the installation of a meter to measure the amount of water being withdrawn. If your application is successful, you then need to register the borehole and erect signage to the effect that your household uses borehole water.
5. Sinking an underground water tank
A number of private businesses are offering to install underground water tanks in residential gardens, rather than above-ground tanks, to conserve space or comply with building codes. But the City’s 2011 Water by-law begs to differ, prohibiting the installation of underground tanks unless they are made of concrete.
6. Believing you have an exemption due to a successful application in the past
Exemptions from complying with water restrictions which were granted by the City during the period when levels 2, 3 and 4 restrictions applied have now been withdrawn. Exemptions granted under levels 4b and 5 restrictions still apply – but “subject to review with the possibility of being revoked”.
The goalposts have moved, and we need to adjust accordingly and responsibly.
Yesterday a colleague saw someone walk into a toilet stall, flush the toilet because it had piss in it, piss into the toilet and then flush it again.
What the actual? When will the penny drop?
We all need to make changes, and if you’re looking for some useful tips and insight I recommend joining the WATER SHEDDING WESTERN CAPE Facebook group.
Anyway, happy Wednesday.
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