Comment on the water by-law amendment bill

Add your name or send a comment directly to the City of Cape Town on the on the proposed Draft Water By-law Amendment

SUCCESS! Due to massive public participation, the City has decided to address the many concerns and will revisit the by-law in a few months time. Well done Cape Town citizens – your participation made this possible.

43,031 comments sent.


The City of Cape Town provided us with an opportunity to participate in their decision-making process. Please use the form below to add your name and comment on the proposed Draft Water By-law Amendment. If you have a suggestion for the city, let them know.

Should you be at a loss for words, read the summary or live input to the city below the form. Feel free to copy and paste into the message area provided. Closing date is 31 January 2018.


A copy of your message will be sent to you along with an automated proof of receipt by the City. Check your junk mail folder if you can’t see it.



Provisions in the By-Law which have been refined or changed

  1. No person may use or permit to be used any water obtained from a source other than the water supply system of the City for domestic purposes without the prior written approval of the Director, and in accordance with any conditions determined by him or her.
  2. Households and business are not allowed to go off the municipal water grid for domestic purposes and must obtain permission from the Director: Water and Sanitation when an alternative water installation for non-domestic use is connected to the municipal water installation.
  3. Entities (water services intermediaries) that intend going off the municipal water grid for domestic purposes must obtain written permission from the Director: Water and Sanitation. The Director will enter into agreements with such entities and maintain a register thereof.
  4. Entities that are already off the municipal water grid but have not obtained permission from the Director will have 6 months to register from the date the Draft Water Amendment By-law is adopted by Council.
  5. Those who go ‘off the municipal water grid’ without seeking permission from the Director and use such water for domestic purposes, do so at their own risk and the City will not be liable for any consequences suffered as a result thereof.
  6. The Director may at the cost of the owner, install or require the installation of a private sub-meter, water management device or prepayment meter to each section, business or dwelling unit on any premises .
  7. The owner of premises is responsible for ensuring compliance with this by-law in respect of all or any matters relating to the water installation (including alternative water connections) and the maintenance thereof.
  8. Toilet cisterns may not exceed 6 litres in capacity; previously this was at 9 litres.
  9. Swimming pools must be covered by a pool cover to avoid evaporation when not in use. (new provision)
  10. An owner, tenant or occupier of a property that intends connecting an alternative water installation to the City’s municipal supply, must write to the Director: Water and Sanitation to obtain permission.
  11. Where water is being used, with the required permission, from groundwater sources such as boreholes, well points, springs or surface water from rivers and streams, or stored rain water or treated effluent, no interconnection is made between a water installation supplied from the main and any other source of water supply. It must be used sparingly and efficiently and in line with the watering or irrigation times determined by the City.
  12. All new developments and building renovations must provide for the installation of alternative water systems for non-domestic purposes and full details thereof must accompany the building plans.
  13. The seller must before transfer of a property, submit a plumbing Certificate of Compliance (CoC) from a registered plumber, certifying that the water installation conforms to this by-law and any applicable requirements of national legislation (including national building regulations). This is to ensure the standard of plumbing materials used. The specific reference to items in the Water By-law has been removed and will now form part of the Certificate of Compliance.
  14. The by-law clarifies that the City will install one Council approved meter and that it is incumbent upon a property owner to install a sub-meter. This is applicable to both commercial and residential multi-unit properties.
  15. The installation of an additional meter will be considered in two instances, and in both these cases a written application must be submitted to the Director: Water and Sanitation:
    1. Where a developer of a new build requests meters, this will be done at the developer’s cost;
    2. Where for fire safety reasons a separate meter is required to monitor a fire hose or another fire safety mechanism.
  16. Where a property is supplied with both potable drinking water and water derived from alternative water sources, an industry-approved mechanism to prevent backflow will be required. An example of this is a reduced pressure zone (RPZ) valve. Reference to treated effluent was replaced with alternative water sources.
  17. The owner must notify the City when plumbing components including alternative water fittings as prescribed in this by-law have been installed or changed.
  18. Further provisions have been included to better manage and regulate the plumbing industry:
    1. The City may remove the name and details of a registered plumber from the register, if he or she has contravened any provision of this by-law.<
    2. The authorised official must maintain a register of registered plumbers.
    3. The Director may cancel the registration of a registered plumber and remove his or her name from the register if such registered plumber:
      1. Fails to comply with the requirements as contemplated in any provision of this by-law;
      2. Falsely or misleadingly completes and issues a certificate of compliance or
      3. Allows his or her registration details to be used in a fraudulent manner.
  19. Offences and penalties. Subject to section 36(7), any person who—
    1. contravenes or fails to comply with any provision of this By-law;
    2. fails to comply with any notice issued, or lawful instruction given, in terms of this By- law;
    3. obstructs or hinders any authorised [representative or employee of the City] official in the execution of his or her duties under this By-law; or
    4. deliberately furnishes false or misleading information to an authorised official,

is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine or upon conviction to a period of imprisonment not exceeding five years or to both such fine and period of imprisonment.


The City intends to further amend the Water By-law (2010).

The Water By-law was approved by Council in 2010. It was a progressive piece of legislation and, among other things, looked at the change in demographics, water demand scenarios in the metro and water-wise aspects.

In 2015 the by-law was amended to ensure that the City could efficiently monitor and control water services and oversee the plumbing industry.

The City’s emphasis on proactive governance to better address the ‘new normal’ which recognises our position in a water-scarce region, the 2015 by-law required further refinement.

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