Legalities of water restrictions and penalties – Video

In order to clamp down on excessive water usage in the Mother City, officials have instituted a range of water restrictions. In order to enforce these restrictions, penalties have been put in place. These include fines as high as R10,000 for excessive water usage as well as the installation of water management devices for households exceeding the 10.5 kl per month cap. In order to understand the the legalities of these measures, Terry Winstanley, Director and Head of the Environmental Law Practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr recently joined SABC news to discuss the legalities of the water penalties in Cape Town.

According to Winstanley the By-Laws of the City give it authority to fine excessive water users with up to R10,000 or to install a “throttling device”which restricts the flow of water to a property. The national body has controls in place to restrict the water usage for domestic, industrial, and agricultural use, like the issueing of fins for not complying with the set requirements.

When asked what the legalities of restricting citizens to 87 litres per day in order to redice consumption to 500 million litres overall per day Winstanley had the following to say, “Well, they are absolutely legal and can be enforced, and are being enforced. In addition, because we aren’t complying properly with them, the city is now conducting water shedding, where areas just don’t have water, if you turn on your tap nothing comes out. ”

When asked what the legalities are regarding rationing water, considering that water is a basic human right, she said, “It is a basic human right, which is why it would be difficult for the city to completely shut off someone’s water, unless there simply isn’t any. In which case at the next stage of water restrictions, we will be required to gather at collection points to collect water, and obviously this will have catastrophic consequences for industry which clearly can’t be doing that if it is a water intensive activity that’s being conducted by a given industry.”


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