Dos and don’ts for borehole owners

Diep River resident, Collin Attwell indicating that your free sign must be displayed on your property and visible from the street.

There has been some confusion around the use of boreholes and wellpoints. KAREN WATKINS asks mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services, and energy, Xanthea Limberg, for clarification.

How must boreholes and wellpoints be registered?

Step 1: Send an email to and include your full name and contact number; the address of the property where the borehole or wellpoint is situated; the erf number of the property where the borehole or wellpoint is situated; your City of Cape Town account number; and whether you are registering a wellpoint or borehole.

You must apply for a new borehole or wellpoint at least 14 days before they are sunk.

Registration is required after your borehole or wellpoint has been sunk.

Step 2: Once you have registered, you will receive a free sign to display on your property which must be visible from the street. This is a legal requirement during water restrictions and is necessary to avoid fines issued by water inspectors.

How many boreholes or wellpoints are registered at present?

Before the announcement of Level 2 restrictions on January 1 2016, we had registered approximately 1 500 boreholes and wellpoints. Since the announcement of Level 2 restrictions on January 1 2016, about 23 000 more boreholes and wellpoints have been registered (as of December 2017).

Note that the City registers boreholes only to ensure that they do not interfere with our infrastructure. Licensing and monitoring the extraction of groundwater is a national government competency, and any questions surrounding the sustainability of the resource should be directed to the national Department of Water and Sanitation.

Is it correct that residents must now record the water they abstract and what is involved with this and how is it being enforced and is the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) working with the City on this?

The DWS gazetted new guidelines for all borehole and wellpoint use, effective January 12, 2018.

In summary:

Borehole/wellpoint water use must be metered and all users are required to keep records, have these available for inspection and email the readings to: It is DWS’s role to regulate the resource in question (ground and surface water) and therefore enforce the reporting of groundwater use as stated in their public notice mentioned above.

DWS and the City work together in respect of joint enforcement activities where required, particularly with information sharing of our database and non-compliances that requires their action.

Permission from the national DWS is needed to sell or buy borehole/wellpoint water.

What is the fine if residents do not do the above? Have fines been issued for over-use or non-registration?

If residents do not report their consumption or use more than their allocation, then DWS will take the necessary legal action.

It is important to note that fines are not the only mechanism of dealing with non-compliant residents-there is also the route of serving notices then summoning the accused to court where, on conviction, the magistrate will give a suitable sentence which may include imprisonment and/or a fine.