From the news desk

City to clamp down on illegal water retailers

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As Capetonians stock up on water ahead of Day Zero, reports have surfaced of water shops selling municipal tap water at some shopping centres. The City of Cape Town says this is illegal and will be investigated. Water inspectors are visiting various shopping centres this weekend to monitor the sale of water. At Ottery Hypermarket, many people could be seen queuing with empty bottles to fill up with filtered municipal water.

Locals queue to buy water in Ottery Hypermarket [Photo: Supplied]
The City’s water and sanitation department spokesperson Farouk Robertson said they have sent water inspectors to assess whether these retailers are complying with the law.

“If they are found in contravention of the Water Act or relevant by-law then we will respond appropriately. These retailers could be fined,” he said.

He also urged consumers to be vigilant that they are purchasing water from retailers that have licences to sell water.

“We know that people are looking at ways of offsetting the demand for water and especially drinking water, but they need to ensure that water sources are legal,” said Robertson.

“The relevant documentation should be in place. If the store has a business licences for that reason then certain details would be on there. People should be looking out for these details, otherwise they are buying water illegally.”

With more residents exploring groundwater extraction for domestic use, city officials have also been engaging borehole users on the importance of saving water. The City said that while it encourages the responsible use of borehole water to offset the use of potable water for non-essential purposes, unfettered use of this resource is not sustainable. Consumers also need to check on the compliance of boreholes.

“People supplying boreholes must have the relevant certification in place. We also want people with boreholes to use it sparingly and rather use it for flushing toilets and not gardening and other excessive use, as everyone needs assist in preserving our ground water resources.”

Well points and boreholes should be registered. Residents can for more information, or apply for registration at

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