Water-wasters face jail in Cape Town's latest crackdown
Cape Town wants to jail people who flout water restrictions.
A proposed by-law introduces the threat of imprisonment‚ cracks down on borehole use and rogue plumbers‚ makes swimming pool covers mandatory and compels section title schemes to blow the whistle on owners who use too much water.
The measures were tabled on Tuesday as proposed amendments to the water-by-law which are open for public comment until January 8.
“A person who fails to comply with water restrictions ... is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine or upon conviction to a period of imprisonment not exceeding six months‚” says the draft.
The mayoral committee member for water‚ Xanthea Limberg‚ said the changes were aimed at making Cape Town a more resilient‚ water-sensitive city that can “thrive despite intense drought episodes”.
Under the new by-law‚ anyone who wants to use non-municipal water for domestic purposes will need the council’s written permission. And where borehole water is used for irrigation it will have to be used sparingly‚ efficiently and “in line with the watering times of the water by-laws”.
Property owners will also have to tell the council when they fit or change a geyser‚ heat pump or solar hot water panels‚ and only registered plumbers will be permitted to work on these devices.
When a property is sold‚ a certificate will be needed from a registered plumber guaranteeing that its water installation conforms with the by-law.
The amendments also give the council powers to insist that a water management device‚ sub-meter or pre-paid meter is fitted to each unit in a sectional title scheme. Body corporates must read sub-meters and blow the whistle on any resident flouting water restrictions.