Giyani Bulk Water supply project

Stock photo

Excessive Cape Town water wasters could soon face jail time

– “What you in for?”
– “Left the tap running, didn’t I?”

Giyani Bulk Water supply project

Stock photo

The going has got tough, and the City of Cape Town are ready to play rough. The Western Cape Government have drafted a new set of by-laws that could see citizens given prison sentences for failure to comply with water restrictions.

The Mother City is in the grip of a drought like no other. It’s the first time in recorded history Cape Town has had three successive years of below-average rainfall, and a myriad of other factors have seen dam capacities decimated. As Cape Town Etc reported, something drastic is being planned…

Jail time for water wasters

Now, the Water Amendment By-law Draft is here to remind us all that shit is getting real. The legislation won’t come into play until it has been reviewed and assessed further. In fact, the regional government are waiting on public feedback before deciding what they would like to enshrine into law.

The City are, however, proposing that anyone who repeatedly goes way over their water usage targets – which currently stands at 87 litres per day, per person – could face up to half a year in jail:

“A person who fails to comply with water restrictions imposed in terms of subsection (6), is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine or upon conviction to a period of imprisonment not exceeding six months.”

How long could wasting water land you in jail?

What is more, Cape Town officials are now seriously considering longer sentences for water-guzzlers who go on to ignore direct action from the city. Here are just some of the offences that could land repeat offenders a five-year sentence:

  • Failure to comply with notices issued or lawful instructions given regarding the by-law
  • Obstructing or hindering a city official in carrying out their duties as required under the Water Amendment By-law
  • Providing false or misleading information to authorities, in terms of water usage and consumption.

How much water does Cape Town use?

In a statement released yesterday, Mayor Patricia de Lille was left exasperated by rising consumption rates:

“Consumption has once again increased to dangerous levels. From an average of 611 million litres per day last week to an average of 628 million litres per day this week. mEANwhile, the daily demand spiked to 694 million litres yesterday.”

She also stated that only 37% of residents are meeting their 87 litres per day targets. She’s tried everything to get the majority on board. But now it seems like de Lille’s days of playing the nice guy are coming to an end.