Borehole Restrictions at Last

The indiscriminate use of borehole water has always bugged me, the daily irrigating of bright green lawns in the middle of a chronic drought seemed obscene. Underground water is not limitless – a depletion and collapse in the ground water well walls would turn the fresh water saline for ever.

Now the  Western Cape Water Affairs Department has taken action, banning households with boreholes from watering their gardens between 7am and 7pm.

“The legislation is gazetted and will be implemented through by- laws in Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Bitou and Beaufort West,” department provincial director Rashid Khan said in George.

Although the idea of limiting private borehole use had been kicked around at previous provincial disaster management meetings, officials had to wait for the legislation to put the restrictions into effect.

Khan said they wanted to stop people with boreholes from overusing the “precious commodity”. They also did not want excessive private borehole use to lead to a lowering of the water table.

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4 Responses to “Borehole Restrictions at Last”


  1. 1 oh March 19, 2010 at 3:07 am

    It’s not just about protecting fragile beauty, but about basic beautiful everyday water. Sometmies there just has to be a law and it’s a good thing. We get “warnings” and “suggestions” here in the Midwest, often around August when everything is getting crispy from the relentless sun, but there hasn’t been a law. I wonder if it shouldn’t just be an ethical moral thing that people would not use their sprinklers here? Nothing stupider than seeing a residential sprinkler system working…while it’s raining!

    Hope your flowers continue to do well. You are in such a beautiful place.

    • 2 Jeannine March 20, 2010 at 5:36 am

      In an ideal world it would be an ethical and moral thing oh, but this ain’t Utopia yet!

      We have had massive restrictions on municipal water for a couple of years now, but borehole use has been unfettered. I know what you mean about sprinklers in the rain – a lot of the houses here are holiday homes and have automatic sprinkler systems. They go off twice a day, every day, come rain, come shine.

      Hope your longed for spring is in sight. . .

  2. 3 shoreacres March 19, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Water wars. They’re the replacement here for the land wars of a century ago. Especially in California, Arizona and other desert states, it’s a real issue. Water that’s needed for irrigating crops keeps midwest-style lawns and gorgeous golf courses green – at enormous cost in every kind of way.

    There have been watering restrictions here for years. When we move into drought conditions, watering is only allowed on alternate days, or once a week, or not at all, depending on the severity. What helps is that we have reservoirs for our water. You can watch the levels drop – harder to conceive what’s happening underground, I suppose.

    • 4 Jeannine March 20, 2010 at 5:40 am

      Water wars – not as science fictionish as it would have sounded a decade ago, that’s for sure.

      We also have the ubiquitous golf courses here. Luckily, the government put a moratorium on them a few years ago, so at least now we only have to water the ones we have. No new greens allowed.


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