Blitz operation wipes out unlawful water activities

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Department of Water and Sanitation has partnered with the City of Cape Town to conduct a joint blitz operation on unlawful water activities in the Mfuleni area, within the metro.

This is part of the efforts to relieve the drought within the Cape Town Municipality.

The department said the focus of the operation was to address all current water contraventions and compliance to the water restrictions, particularly targeting informal carwashes.

“In terms of the city’s level 6B restrictions, municipal potable water cannot be used for carwashes. Informal carwashes consume a lot of water; a number of carwash owners use stand pipes to run their businesses, and others use water from their taps,” the department said on Thursday.

The Western Cape is experiencing the worst drought in a decade, forcing authorities to put stringent measures in place to prolong what could be regarded as a probable Day Zero.

This is done to ensure that the restricted allocation of 87 litres of water per person, per day is adhered to.

To ensure compliance, the City of Cape Town brought in the Law Enforcement team and Special Investigating Unit, while the department brought in enforcement officials (Blue Scorpions).

During Thursday activities, several fines were issued mostly for using municipal drinking water at informal carwashes without special exemption.

The department said the enforcement and monitoring blitz conducted is also a means of verifying the lawful water access, while ensuring that water users adhere to current water restrictions, gazzetted and published recently.

“This activity forms part of national government’s initiatives to support the Western Cape to ensure that taps do not run dry,” the department said.

Ahead of the Thursday blitz, the department also on Wednesday conducted compliance monitoring on farms in the Malmesbury and Tulbagh areas.

The monitoring concentrated on all water related activities, with particular emphasis on activities that would have been allowed, as per the water use licences received, including ensuring correct amounts are abstracted from the correct abstraction points, and that waste discharged back into the environment and resources is within the prescribed norms and standards.

The department said that during the monitoring, there was also interest on possible illegal diversions and illegal dams.  –