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Any idea that the Cape Town City Council might back down on its new ruling that a certificate has to be obtained from an accredited plumber before a home can be transferred to a new owner can now be dropped:  the ruling has become law and will be enforced, says Anton du Plessis, CEO of Vineyard Estates.

This additional piece of legislation, he says, can and will delay house sales if homes are found to be losing water through their plumbing network.  To prevent this, du Plessis recommends that anyone going into the sales process does a few water checks himself well before the sale takes place.

“The first step is to turn off all the taps in the house and any appliances that use water, including garden irrigation systems.  Then ensure that lavatories are not used for an hour or so and check the water meter at the start of the hour and again at the end of it.  If further water consumption has been recorded you have a leak somewhere in the system and a plumber will have to be called in to detect and repair it.”

It is also a good idea, said du Plessis, before turning on all the taps, to check the accuracy of the meter.  This can be done by filling a bath with ten litres of water from a standard 10 litre bucket.  This should cause the calibrated dial to move on one click (most dials reflect 10 litre increments).  If the needle rises more than that, the City Council must be notified that their meter is faulty.

The City Council, says du Plessis, is concerned that some private homes may be discharging waste water into the stormwater system.  This, he said, is a genuine cause of worry because worldwide it has been shown that, once polluted, stormwater systems can become a serious health hazard.

“Stormwater systems, unlike sewerage systems, are not designed to take organic material such as the leftovers from food preparation.”