A recent City water blitz showed the difficulty of catching culprits without the help of residents. The City needs the help of the public to ensure adherence to Level 3 water restrictions. Read more below:
A team of 45 officials from the City of Cape Town’s Water Inspectorate carried out a blitz operation in the Tygerberg/Goodwood area this week, on 12 January 2017. The blitz resulted in the issuing of one fine to the value of R2 000 for the hosing down of concrete surfaces with potable water.
In addition to the fine issued, officers engaged a number of residents on the importance of saving water, paying specific attention to houses with lush vegetation, and followed up on the reports of contraventions.
‘The City is stepping up its enforcement efforts, but it must be noted that water use enforcement is one part of the substantial daily operations of the City and a careful balancing act of how we use our human and other resources is vital. Given that the City supplies water to close to one million customers and that most wastage occurs behind closed doors, we need residents to help us and to report and supply evidence of alleged transgressions.
‘We are unable to police every occurrence of water use infringements considering the size of the metro. Residents therefore have a material role to play in obeying the restrictions and ensuring that they are the City’s enforcement ambassadors,’ said the City’s spokesperson, Priya Reddy.The Water Inspectorate consists of 51 officials, including 20 new recruits from the Expanded Public Works Programme. The City is calling on residents to report water restrictions contraventions via email to email@example.com so that these can be followed up. Regular blitz operations focused on finding transgressions within a specific area will continue.
Further to this, the City is developing a methodology whereby excessive water use can be identified. Once in place, we will focus on these customers with educational material to assist in bringing their use to within acceptable levels. Their properties will also be listed for future inspections.
Since the implementation of water restrictions, 383 notices of contraventions and 225 notices to appear in court have been issued.
In terms of policing, contraventions can result in a spot fine of up to R3 000, escalating up to R10 000 on conviction, or possible jail time for serious and repeat offenders. Spot fines can only be issued if the resident is caught in the act. In other cases, a contravention notice (i.e. warning notice) will be issued.
The following photos were taken during the operation this week:
‘The fact that only one fine was issued by a team of 45 officials speaks to the difficulty that the City has in catching those who contravene the restrictions. Given the immensity of the task, enforcement will not be fully effective unless residents come to the party by reporting the contraventions that they see, along with supporting evidence.
‘Residents can also assist by raising awareness of restrictions in their social circles. It is only with the help of the public that we can ensure that everyone falls in line, and that our remaining water is conserved,’ said Reddy.
Residents should please report contraventions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The more evidence that is provided of the contravention, the more effective the City’s enforcement can be.