SAB tightens the taps on Captonians who are collecting too much of its spring water


SAB tightens the taps on Captonians who are collecting too much of its spring water

Justin Deffenbacher | 2017-04-03 15:48:34.0

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What started as a small offer of assistance by a Cape Town brewery to aid in the growing water crisis‚ has devolved into a battle to protect fast-declining water resources.

In 2011 South African Breweries’ Newlands brewery began a public collection point from overflow of their spring. Six years out from their partnership with the City of Cape Town the amount of people collecting water from the spring has increased dramatically due to the current drought.

But SAB has received complaints of abuse. A recent study conducted by SAB officials estimated 1000 individuals utilize the taps daily.

Beyond those users multiple complaints have pointed to commercial business including car washes‚ bed and breakfasts‚ restaurants‚ and factories using the taps for their own benefit.

The original agreement between SAB and Cape Town intentionally did not include commercial and agricultural use. While SAB has been unable to prove that commercial entities have engaged in this use‚ new security measures should provide the evidence needed to prosecute violators.

The rising rates of consumption have forced SAB to begin to enforce a strict per-day limit of 25 litres and invest in the extra security infrastructure needed to prevent further abuses. “We implemented these changes really to reduce tensions and complaints about the number of people abusing the system. Given the water crisis at the moment‚ we’ve begun to receive a high number of calls noting abuses taking place.

“There has never been a need to police the public taps‚ but now we are at a point where we need to take action‚” the Newlands brewery’s General Manager John Stenslunde said.

SAB has already begun to install CCTV cameras as well as a high-mast light for night-time security among other things. “We’ve just started in the last two weeks‚ so it’s too early to say‚ but we are doing are best to make sure everyone gets their fair share. 

As owners of the facility it’s up to us to decrease these tensions‚” Stenslunde said. According to the latest report by the city‚ dam levels have dropped to an effective 16‚2%.

In the last week consumption was at 741 million litres a day – 41-million litres “above the collective usage target of 700-million litres per day” the statement read.

Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements‚ Water and Waste Services; and Energy‚ Xanthea Limberg announced that they are “bringing forward several emergency supply schemes”.

This includes the Table Mountain Group Aquifer‚ a small desalination plant and a multi-million wastewater reuse plant.

“We will progressively intensify water restrictions and will reduce water pressure further to lower consumption‚ which could in cases lead to intermittent supply over larger areas of the metro at the same time‚” said Limberg.

– additional reporting Nashira Davids

TMG Digital/The Times

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