Municipality Wants Residents to Register Their Water Tanks


Residents with alternative water sources like rain water tanks and spikes or boreholes are urged to register these on the municipality’s database.

water tank - rainwater usage home“We thank residents for their efforts in saving and using water from alternative sources,” said Councillor Louise Hart, chairperson for the Planning, Infrastructure and Development Committee. “While many residents mainly use these alternative sources to water the garden and wash their cars, some residents have taken it a step further, connecting these sources to their household supply,” Hart said. “This water is mainly used in washing machines, dishwashers and bathrooms. But there is a possibility that this untreated water may enter the municipal supply, mixing with and compromising the potable water supplied by the municipality.”

“Our Water By-Law is very clear on this matter,” Hart continued. “The by-law may be viewed in its entirety on our website, but two points are especially relevant to the issue at hand.”

Under the section Mixing of Rainwater with Municipality’s Water Supply, the Knysna Municipality Water By-Law states that “No person shall cause or permit rainwater to flow into any tank or cistern supplied with water by the municipality.” The by-law is equally emphatic regarding Pollution to Water Supply, stating that “No person shall cause or permit the water from any sink, sewer, drain, engine, boiler or any other unclean water or liquid for the control of which he is responsible, to run or be brought into any such reservoir, main or other place or do any other act whereby the supply of water to the inhabitants of the municipality’s area of supply may be polluted.”

“We are mandated to supply treated, potable water that meets specific standards for consumption to our consumers,” Hart explained. “And when water from spikes, boreholes or rainwater tanks enters our system, it pollutes this water. An easy and practical way to avoid this situation is for residents who make use of these alternative sources to implement a dual system where the two supply systems function independently.”

“Yes, it would be very difficult for the municipality to monitor this issue, as residents can easily interconnect their system with ours,” Hart admitted. “But we are confident that residents will understand the importance of not mixing the water supplies, and that they will take the necessary steps to rectify the situation if needs be. The by-law also makes provision for penalties to be imposed for any contravention of the by-law.”

“While our area has received quite a bit of rain throughout the year, it has been very inconsistent, with long, dry periods in between. The greater Knysna area is mainly dependent on our rivers for water but, with this intermittent rainfall, our rivers are running low,” Hart concluded. “And with the summer season fast approaching, we need everyone to work together, ensuring that we create a town where people and nature prosper.”


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