The Western Cape Local Government is investigating allegations that water from the Boland meant for drought-stricken West Coast municipalities is being stolen.

Five-billion litres were released from the Bergriver Dam in the Boland on Wednesday.

It will replenish supplies in the Misverstand Dam on the West Coast, and will be used for domestic and industrial purposes. The water is expected to reach the dam on Monday.

However, it has been confirmed that illegal structures have been set up to try and siphon off water. If found guilty, culprits can be fined up to R10 million.

Agri Western Cape says a handful of culprits are creating a major problem for all stakeholders.

“The majority of producers are doing their part… more than the majority. But this is a big problem, and what we are now seeing we need a proper water management plan; we need to implement it, and make sure that it’s enforced properly,” says Agri Western Cape’s Carl Opperman.

Provincial Local Government MEC, Anton Bredell, says they are working closely with the Water and Sanitation Department, law enforcement and Agri Western Cape to ensure that the water reaches its destination.

“We want to secure water for residents in Saldanah Bay, and the 22 coastal municipalities. But obviously, it will help in managing the river system and hopefully, it will carry us through the raining season. But I must also call on residents to please reduce consumption at least for the next to three years… it is not over yet, we are still in a crisis.”