Ward 35 councillor Mboniswa Chitha (ANC) has appealed to the City of Cape Town to fix all the leaks and problematic drainage systems before taking punitive actions against alleged water wasters.
He was responding to the City’s announcement last week that a section of his area, Thabo Mbeki Road, which stretches between Luzuko and Philippi plaza, was among the top 100 water consumers in the city.
The area is number 34 on the list. With severe water restrictions already in place and the province having been declared a “local disaster area” by Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, the City has vowed to take serious actions against offenders.
It said water consumption during February increased to 837 million litres of collective use per day against a target of 700 million litres.
While he understood the need for water restrictions and welcomed the stance by the City, Mr Chitha said informal settlements had some unique problems.
“In the case of Thabo Mbeki for example, we have communal taps and toilets. Taps are left running there. Who are we going to blame or punish for such waste of water.
“That is the biggest challenge the City will face. Again residents have been reporting leaking pipes and (overflowing) drains, but we are yet to see a quick response to that. All we can ask for from the City is to fix all and then punish those who do not listen,” he said.
He added that if the City worked with the residents and councillors, solutions could be found. Ms De Lille’s spokesperson, Zara Nicholson, said City officials had conducted visits to affected areas to establish the cause for water wastage. Ms De Lille added that while people do not have control over the weather, they do have control over their use of potable water for non-essential purposes.
She said City officials were targeting the 20 000 highest water users to ensure compliance with the restrictions. Recently the City issued 36 fines, ranging from R500 to R2 000.
The fines were issued to residents and businesses, who were, among other things, using potable water to wash vehicles, washing down hard surfaces with a hosepipe, irrigating without permission and outside designated times for garden watering, using a sprinkler, and wasting water (that is; leaking taps, pipes, overflowing hot water cylinders).