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Water Restrictions for George – garden watering times amended

George Municipality has taken into consideration the approach of the winter months with sun setting earlier and light fading,  and accordingly amended the times during which gardens can be watered by hand-held garden hose, in terms of the existing Water Restrictions in place. As of 1 May to 31 August, gardens may be watered by hand from 17h00 – 19h00.

The current water restrictions were implemented in January 2022 and are similar to those found in paragraph 2B of the George Municipal Drought Management Policy. An emergency as contemplated in Section 2(4)(b) of the Water Services By-law to limit or restrict the use of water currently exists in George as the water treatment works cannot meet the current potable water demand.

George Municipality has over the past year reported to the public that the consumption of drinking or potable water per day in George, is currently high compared to the amount of raw water that is being purified by our water treatment works.

The Annual Average Daily Demand for drinking water has averaged at 32 Ml per day and the current water treatment works output per day is about 38Ml. This is produced jointly on a daily basis by the Old Water Treatment Works and the New Water Treatment Works which are both operating at full capacity.

Residents should note that although the GARDEN ROUTE DAM LEVEL remains almost full, this is RAW WATER storage and not POTABLE or DRINKING WATER supply. The raw water needs to be treated at the George Old and New Water Treatment Facilities before it goes to the main potable water storage reservoirs for distribution into the reticulation system. The current water demand is higher than the production rate at these facilities.

Forward planning is in place and the remedial and capacity (20Ml) extension projects funded by the Budget Facility for Infrastructure funding (BFI grant) will extend the water treatment capacity for George and will be implemented in two phases over three years. The construction for the 20Ml Water Treatment Works has started and will continue over the next few years. The overall funding required to ensure potable water security in the George system is R1.197 billion and the funding will be provided over the next forty (40) months for the full phases of the Potable Water Security and Remedial Works projects. There are currently 12 sub-components in various stages of procurement and implementation.

In 2021 it was determined that South Africans use 235 litres of potable water per person daily as per the Water Resources Commission. Following the implementation of Water Restrictions in George earlier this year and based on the 2011 STATSA population figure for George at 210 000, the daily consumption of drinking water for the average Georgian is equal to approximately 167 l per day. This shows that the public are responding to the Water Restrictions and using less drinking water. This is commendable and we thank everyone for their combined efforts. We do however have to remind the general public that the restrictions will remain in place until the new Water Treatment Works can be commissioned.

George Municipality has also applied for R238m in disaster funding for remedial work required to repair our water and sewer infrastructure damaged during the floods of November/ December 2021. The Municipality is still awaiting the outcome of the application.

The right of access to basic water supply and sanitation is a basic right for all communities and it is the responsibility of the George Municipality as the Water Services Institution to take reasonable measures to ensure these rights. Water Restrictions in George are therefore in place to reduce use of drinking water to ensure that the Municipality can fulfill this mandate.

The immediate measures to be adhered to are as follows:

  1. The mechanical irrigation of gardens is prohibited.
  2. Gardens may be watered by means of hand-held garden hose only, from 1 May to 31 August between 17:00 to 19:00 and from 01 September to 30 April between 19:00 to 21:00:
    Mondays and Thursdays for even-numbered households ONLY
    Tuesdays and Fridays for uneven numbered households ONLY.
  3. The irrigation or watering of all sports fields is prohibited.  Exemption from restrictions in the following instances only: golf course greens, bowling greens, and cricket pitches which may only be watered between 19:00 and 21:00.
  4. The washing of vehicles with a garden hose, except by a commercial enterprise whose business it is to wash cars, is prohibited;
  5. The cleaning of ANY area using water is prohibited;
  6. The filling of swimming pools is prohibited.
  7. Where own water from a borehole or reservoir is used, the appropriate notice shall be displayed on the premises, e.g. “OWN WATER”.

Contraventions of the Water Restrictions can be reported on 0800 424477 and will be followed up by George Municipal Law Enforcement. Any person who contravenes these restrictions is guilty of an offence and is, upon conviction, liable to a fine as published in the annual tariffs list, or six months imprisonment.

In terms of Section 5 of the By-law, any person may apply in writing for the exemption from the provision of any notice published in terms of the By-law, and the Council may grant an exemption and impose conditions in respect of such an application.  The Policy grants permission to the Directorate Civil Engineering Services to approve applications for exemptions.

Applications for exemptions are to be submitted to the Directorate: Civil Engineering Services for approval. Once approved, a written exemption shall be provided, and individual applications assessed.

Report all water leaks to our Civil Engineering Department on 044 801 9262/66.