Johannesburg – Hefty fines may await Johannesburg residents as water restrictions are increased.

Member of the Mayoral Committee responsible for Environment, Infrastructure Services Department Anthony Still told journalists that water consumption in Johannesburg needed to be reduced by 15% to ensure the reservoirs do not run dry.

Rand Water will be reducing their supply to Johannesburg Water by 15% as a result.

The Water levels in the integrated Vaal river system have dropped below the threshold level of 60%. The Vaal River itself is at 33.2%. This is due to the ongoing drought.

Existing level 2 restrictions were implemented since November 2015. Users are compelled not to water their gardens between 06:00 and 18:00. Previously sprinkler systems were allowed outside of this window, however, Johannesburg Water said that from Wednesday no sprinkler systems are allowed. Only hose pipes, buckets and water cans may be used to water gardens.

No hose pipes may be used to wash cars and clean pavements. Swimming pools may also not be filled by using municipal water; only borehole water may be used for that.

According to Johannesburg Water, 40% of water used in Gauteng is for gardening. Therefore they believe that if people comply with the restrictions, water usage could easily be reduced

The restrictions are only in place while the drought is ongoing.

Should Gauteng receive good rainfall, the restrictions will be suspended.

New water restriction tariffs will also become effective.

The restriction tariffs are imposed as follows:

* 10% extra on consumption of between 20 000 litres and 30 000 litres/month.

* 20% extra on consumption of between 30 000 and 40 000 litres/month.

* A 30% increase will be implemented for consumption above 40 000 litres/month.

Talks this week with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) will include the possibility of handing out fines to residents who do not abide by these restrictions.

Fines up to R1 500 per offence

“We will be releasing info on the city’s hotline where people can report non-compliance,” Still said.

“We have to bring in JMPD. JMPD has probably never been asked to help with this sort of stuff. We’ll ask them to issue a fine if they see sprinklers going. And that will be added to the water bill.”

The fines will be between R1 000 and R1 500 per offence.

The systems will be throttled in the evenings from 20:00 until 04:00 in areas where there is high demand. This means that the water flow will be reduced.

Asked what else Johannesburg Water was doing to save water, Still said they have active leak detection and water network pressure modulation.

“We are some way into replacing 900km of reticulation pipes and are ahead of schedule. Early this year we encouraged people to drill boreholes. So far a 20% increase in demand for boreholes since the start of this year has been shown.”

Source: Hefty fines in JHB as water restrictions upped