Don’t take water from dams

The public has been warned not to take water from dams and vleis as this poses a health risk and is also illegal.

The City of Cape Town says there have been growing reports of people taking water from these sources as the water crisis intensifies.

A picture was posted online last week of a man taking water from the Door de Kraal dam in Bellville. It sparked debate about the legality of this and possible health risks.

Jenni Davies wrote: “Disgusting. Also, how did he get into the park? Cars aren’t supposed to drive in the park, and there are poles all around it. I’m sure he didn’t walk with that barrel, which means he was driving around — one of my pet hates, as families go there to enjoy nature not to dodge some tjop with a bakkie.”

Devon Currie questioned whether the water was safe for human consumption, while Tania Smith King encouraged residents to take a photo of the licence plate and contact the authorities if they saw it happening again.

Ward 70 councillor Andrea Crous said she had heard about the incident but was not aware of similar cases.

She said the security guard on duty at the time had not seen it happen. “He was sitting in his security shed and could not explain why he did not see this. The security firm was also notified,” she said.

Richard Bosman, the City’s executive director for safety and security, said the quality of the water was the City’s primary concern, but taking water from vleis and dams was governed by national legislation. He said residents were not allowed to extract water from such sources without a licence from the national Department of Water and Sanitation.

“The only time that residents are entitled to take water from a water resource that is for reasonable domestic purposes, is if the watercourse runs through their property or borders on their property,” he said.

Department of Water and Sanitation spokesman, Sputnik Ratau, confirmed that but said the licence would not usually be approved as the water from those sources had to undergo a purification process.

Meanwhile, Mr Bosman said the City was still finalising a list of water-collection points, which would only be released should we get to a point where Day Zero was likely.

“Day Zero was moved out earlier this week to mid-May; however, we must continue to save water in order to avoid a situation where the taps are switched off,” he said.

Ms Crous encouraged residents to save as much water as possible to give the City enough time to complete the augmentation projects to secure water supply to every household.

“Projects are behind, but if everybody works together to bring the consumption down to less than 50 litres per person, we will not reach Day Zero. Do not increase your stress levels by taking water from resources you know you are not allowed to use,” she said.

Residents who suspect water is being taken from rivers or dams, or stolen from the municipal supply, can report this to the City’s emergency 107 line. The caller will be transferred to the relevant emergency service provider for assistance. Dial 107 from a Telkom line or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.