Farmer up for unlawful water activities
THE department of water and sanitation (DWS) in the Western Cape has taken a farmer to the Clanwilliam Regional Court following allegations of unlawful water activities.
The farmer is facing five criminal charges. He appeared in court and the case was postponed to August 14.
This comes at a period when the province is battling the worst drought in decades which has resulted in the province being declared a national disaster by the chairperson of the interministerial task team on drought and water scarcity, the minister of corporate governance and traditional affairs.
The DWS opened a criminal case against Tierhoek Boerdery in Wildschutskraal, Clanwilliam early this year.
This was after the department conducted the first enforcement and monitoring blitz in the West Coast region during Enforcement Month in 2017.
Enforcement Month is celebrated annually by the department during the month of November.
During this period, the DWS, working with Cape Nature, the department of environmental affairs development and planning, visited a total of 25 properties in the region to verify water use versus water allocations after the local water user associations and individuals reported suspected unlawful water use activities. This triggered the department to act. DWS director for regulation Boniswa Hene said during the blitz period, the department and its partners uncovered some activities that were against the National Water Act 36 of 1998, Dam Safety Regulations and the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998.
The charges include failure to meet the requirements for issuance of a licence before constructing a dam with safety risks, failure to produce a licence to construct a category 2 dam with safety risks before the construction of the dam, failure to register and to submit an application to register dams with a safety risk within 120 days to the department of water and sanitation after completion of the dam, contravening of Section 49A of the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 by developing infrastructure for the offstream storage of water including dams and reservoirs with a combined capacity of 50 000 cubic meters and contravening the act by developing a dam where the highest part of the dam wall was 5m higher.
TAKING ACTION: A Western Cape farmer has been taken to court for unlawful water activities.