Proposed by-law in Cape Town includes option of jail for heavy water users
Under the new by-law‚ anyone who wants to use nonmunicipal water for domestic purposes would need the council’s written permission
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 wanted to use nonmunicipal water for domestic purposes would need the council’s written permission. Where borehole water was used for irrigation it would have to be used sparingly‚ efficiently and "in line with the watering times of the water by-laws".
Property owners would also have to tell the council when they fitted or changed a geyser‚ heat pump or solar hot water panels‚ and only registered plumbers would be permitted to work on these devices.
When a property is sold‚ a certificate would be needed from a registered plumber guaranteeing that its water installation conformed with the by-law.
The amendments would also give the council powers to insist that a water management device‚ submeter or prepaid meter was fitted to each unit in a sectional title scheme. Body corporates must read submeters and blow the whistle on any resident flouting water restrictions.