Farmer bust for illegal watering
Johannesburg - A Deneysville farmer faces criminal charges after he was caught illegally irrigating his maize crop with water from the Vaal Dam, according to a report on Tuesday.
The clampdown coincided with the beginning of National Water Week, Beeld reported.
Nigel Adams, head of the Blue Scorpions, the unit tasked with enforcing the National Water Act, said the Vaal catchment area was under "enormous pressure" and farmers had to realise that siphoning water out of the system would not be permitted.
Members of the Blue Scorpions unit locked the farmer's pumps on Monday.
Johannes Moller, president of Agri SA, said it was a pity that farmers were being targeted in this regard, as they were actually minor offenders.
"Although illegal irrigation by some farmers is certainly worrying, there are other factors that pose an even bigger threat to the availability and quality of fresh water," Moller said.
Agri SA felt that government should be scrutinising the issue to pinpoint bigger offenders.
Meanwhile, Minister of Water Affairs Edna Molewa warned local councils on Monday to "get their house in order" to avoid polluting the Vaal catchment area.