Borehole regulations you need to know

Putting in a borehole on a property is often an attractive option for owners as it provides a convenient and cost-effective source of water. But before drilling for water, be sure to comply with all relevant regulations to avoid unpleasant penalties.

February 4, 2018


The owner of a property with a borehole must ensure that every terminal water fitting and every appliance which supplies or uses the water is clearly marked with a weatherproof notice, which will be acquired when an owner registers his or her new borehole. This notice indicates that the water is unsuitable for domestic purposes.

An official sign, clearly indicating the borehole registration number, must then be erected on the outside of the property, clearly visible to the public thoroughfare.  It is important to note that no sign, other than the official notice received, will be valid to indicate the existence of the borehole.

Restrictions and management

Depending on the jurisdiction of the property, an owner may be required to obtain the permission of the municipality before drilling a borehole. For example, this is the case in Ekurhuleni Municipality in terms of section 85 of the Ekurhuleni Municipality’s Water Bylaws.

An owner may also be required to give notice to the relevant municipality of the intention to drill a borehole.

The owner of a property also needs to ensure that the borehole is properly covered so that no person or animal can fall into it and sustain injuries. In the event that any person or animal is injured in this manner, an owner may be held liable for damages.

It is also the responsibility of the owner to ensure that the borehole is not being contaminated by any source, as this will lead to the groundwater source being contaminated too.

The Government Gazette is used by the government as an official way of communicating to the general public any changes to legislation, and therefore property owners can find relevant information there. However, should an owner be unsure of the regulations relating to them, it is also possible to contact the water department at the relevant local council for information.

Written by Wessel de Kock

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