Ricochet News

George Municipality introduces hefty fines for contravention of water restrictions

JULY 4, 2017
George Municipality introduces hefty fines for contravention of water restrictions

Fines for the contravention of water restrictions in the George municipal area will be implemented this week as part of measures taken to manage the city’s water security. Repeat offenders can expect to pay up to R4 000 per offence, depending on the offence, or land up in jail for up to six months if found guilty.

The George Municipality announced water restrictions in terms of its Drought Management Policy that came into effect when the level of the Garden Route Dam, which services the greater George area, dropped to below 60% on June 1. The latest dam level reading, which is taken weekly on Wednesdays, was 52.41% on June 28.

George Municipal Manager Trevor Botha said the fines reflected the municipality’s pro-active and serious approach to water security. “We can’t sit and wait for rain that may or may not come, we must save now, so that we are not sorry later.”

Contraventions of water restrictions can be reported on 044 801 6350 to which municipal law enforcement officers will respond and investigate. Transgressors caught red-handed will be issued fines on the spot, which will be processed through the municipal court system. A signed declaration by a witness reporting someone else watering illegally, may also lead to a fine to the offender. After three offences, jailtime may apply.

To successfully prosecute offenders, and register the complaint, it is requested that complainants furnish their full details. Complainants may ask to remain anonymous.  

Businesses and individuals can apply for exemptions, but must understand it will only be granted under exceptional circumstances, as restrictions are designed to discourage the use of water for non-essential purposes. 

Mr Botha asked citizens to inform and remind fellow residents and visitors of water restrictions, and the fines implemented for contraventions, especially in cases such as non-permanent residents and people who have been out of town for a while, who may not yet know of the new restrictions and may have garden sprayers on pre-set timers etc. “We remind residents and businesses making use of non-municipal water, such as boreholes and reservoirs, to clearly display an ‘OWN WATER’ sign to alert vigilant neighbours and law enforcement officers of the fact. Please note that even with the sign, law enforcement officers may ask to see the water source to verify own water claims.

“This is not a witch-hunt, but a concerted effort to save water wherever and however we can,” said Mr Botha.

Admission of guilt fines will be issued as follows:

Offence type

First offence

Second offence

Third offence

Watering of places other than gardens, golf course greens, bowling greens and cricket pitches

R1 000

R2 000

R4 000

Watering of gardens outside approved times

(Even-numbered houses: Mondays/Thursdays 7pm-9pm)

(Uneven-numbered houses: Tuesdays/ Fridays 7pm-9pm)

R500

R1 000

R2 000

Mechanical irrigation of gardens, watering gardens with a hose pipe that is not hand-held, washing a car wash using a garden hose (except car wash businesses), filling or topping up swimming pools with municipal water and hosing down of surfaces using municipal water.

R750

R1 500

R3 000

 

The water restrictions mean the following measures are immediately in place:

  1. Mechanical irrigation of gardens is prohibited.
  2. Gardens may only be watered using handheld hoses between 7pm and 9pm on specific days.

Even-numbered households may only water on Mondays and Thursdays.

Uneven-numbered households may only water on Tuesdays and Fridays.

  1. The irrigation/watering of all sportsfields is prohibited, except for golf course greens, bowling greens and cricket pitches, daily between 7pm and 9pm.
  2. Washing of vehicles with a garden hose, except by a commercial carwash, is prohibited.
  3. Cleaning of any outside surface area using water is prohibited.
  4. Where own water from a borehole or reservoir is used ‘OWN WATER’ signage must be displayed.

Please report water leaks, burst pipes and other water-related concerns to our Civil Engineering Department, at  044 801 9262 or after hours at 044 801 6300, as soon as you notice them.

Contraventions of water restrictions can be reported on 044 801 6350.