Water Crisis – Beware Unscrupulous Online Operators

Claire Cobbledick, Head of Core Business at Gumtree South Africa says the country’s biggest online classifieds website has seen a massive spike in water-related services and products being offered in the Cape.

Currently there are several different posts on Gumtree for bulk water-delivery (mainly non-potable water for gardens or pools) and outlets for plastic water containers and 303 separate posts for water tanks and bladders.  There are also nine companies offering borehole or wellpoint drilling. “Most of the posts are completely legitimate but we’re urging users to be careful. In the state of panic which currently exists, consumers are more vulnerable and eager to hand over cash without doing their due diligence, especially as supplies dwindle.”

Cobbledick cautions the public to be responsible when it comes to bulk water delivery. The Department of Water & Sanitation has made it clear that it’s illegal to sell water from private boreholes which are meant to be used for reasonable domestic use only. “The water cannot be sold without proper approval so consumers should check that any bulk delivery is ethically and legally sourced. Legitimate bulk water is often run-off water from other purposes rather than sourced from boreholes or taps.”

Regarding JoJo tanks and other water storage devices, she says they’re in massively high demand and consumers should “make sure that the company is reputable and that delivery is made before parting with too much money. Any infringements or illegalities found on Gumtree should be reported to us immediately so that we can take action.”

There are all kinds of other services cropping up online which are connected to the water crisis. Gumtree has four water diviners on the site and 54 water leak detectors. Entrepreneurs are also offering to collect water for a fee on behalf of others, should the proposed collection system come into effect.

“We’re also noting in our property category that listings in the Cape tend now to headline water availability in the form of tanks or boreholes.”