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Leiwater Montagu

Montagu Leiwater Gebruikers­vereniging/Users' Association

The flow of life...

Welcome to our watery world. Jump in and enjoy :-)

What is Leiwater?

The Association

The Leidam

The system & its history



In South Africa, leiwater is present in most small towns in the Western Cape province, and a few in the Northern and Eastern Cape provinces. There used to be more towns with leiwater, but some have fallen into disrepair or been removed altogether. Some towns have lost their systems to floods, especially the 1981 Laingsburg Floods. There are still many towns with active leiwater, and these are some of them:

  • Greyton
  • Barrydale
  • Wolesley
  • Napier
  • Stellenbosch
  • McGregor
  • Murraysburg
  • Robertson
  • Bonnievale
  • Ladismith
  • Loxton
  • Stanford
  • Franschhoek
  • Graaff-Reinet
  • Nieu-Bethesda
  • Vosburg
  • Calitzdorp
  • Prince Albert

Elsewhere in the world there are canal systems in some towns (though they're not called "leiwater"). Examples include the Madeira levadas and Spanish acequia or séquia (found in Iberia and former Spanish colonies like Brazil and New Mexico (USA)). The Mediterranean systems were introduced by the Moors. There are leats in Wales and the south and west of England which carry water for irrigation or for other purposes like household or millwheel use.

The conducting of water is obviously an age old practice, and examples can be found all over the world.

New users

  1. Check the map to see if your property falls within the leiwater service area (click on the map to see a larger image):
  2. Leiwater Montagu watererwe
  3. If it does, then go to our applications page and complete the correct form. The form is sent to us and the committee will consider your application and get back to you.
    There are three options:
    • New application - you have a property which doesn't currently get leiwater and you would like to apply for an allocation.
    • New owner - you have bought a property which already has a leiwater allocation and you let us know your details.
    • Extra water - you have a leiwater allocation, but you would like to apply for more water.

All forms are available in English and Afrikaans.

You can take water only during your allocated beurt, skepbeurt or skepregte. You will have a copy of the Schedule which details all the beurte. If you have lost your Schedule, please contact the Secretary to get another one.

There is no recourse for a missed beurt. You will have to wait for your allocated time next week.

The Leidam

The leidam is on the corner of Barry and Bath Streets in Montagu.

Leidam map Montagu

The hide is always open, and accessible from the road.

Costs absolutely nothing :-) It is free to use.

Download our Full Birdlist (.xls). At least 73 species have been recorded on the dam so far. There is a heronry (various herons, egrets, spoonbills, ibises and cormorants) and other water, vlei and garden birds (e.g. weavers, doves, ducks, shelduck, warblers, coot, moorhen). The heronry is active all day during the breeding season (spring to autumn), and in the mornings and evenings in winter. There are more birds present in the warmer months when the migrants like swallows are present.

If you have any sightings of new birds, please let us know. And, even better, load photos of them on iNaturalist. See the birds (and other beasties) in our collection of sightings on iNaturalist.

There are also dragonflies, butterflies and frogs. And, if you're very lucky, you may see the otters.

Leidam birds


Many leiwater terms are Afrikaans and used in English.

  • beurt - turn, as in allocated time slot.
  • leibeurt - same as beurt, differentiates it from a skepbeurt
  • kanaal - canal
  • sloot - ditch or trench, canal
  • voor - furrow, canal
  • sluis - sluice-gate
  • inkeergat - inlet sump
  • klep - valve
  • pomp - pump
  • pyp - pipe
  • bron - source
  • skepbeurt - an allocated time slot during which the member can take a portion of the water
  • skepregte - members with skepregte can take a portion of the water during the week, up to a maximum.
Contact Us

We don't have an office as such, so please contact our Secretary on:

☎  +27 (0)71 477 7791

✉  Email us

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