Theewaterskloof dam is overflowing. The dam recently reached its full capacity and it's the first time since 2014 the dam is full. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

No water restrictions: 'City of Cape Town is not fully coming to the party'

By Marvin Charles Oct 21, 2020

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Cape Town - The City decided to lift water restrictions in Cape Town and to move to the lowest tariff, being the no-restriction, water-wise tariff from November 1.

The mayoral committee (mayco) unanimously supported the decision which will be presented before council for noting next week.

Mayor Dan Plato said: “Mayco has noted the expert advice from the City’s water and sanitation department and we support its decision to lift the water restrictions and to lower the water and sanitation tariff to the lowest approved level by council.

“We have always had a proactive approach to the management of our resources, financial and natural, and we are happy to support the decision.

“Apart from the dams filling up to capacity and beyond in recent weeks, this is another moment to be celebrated as, in a few short years, we have gone from the worst drought to face our city and a potential water Day Zero, to full dams and zero water restrictions besides the need to stay water-wise. We are situated in a water-scarce region so we will always need to ensure we are sustainable and future-fit.”

Plato said this lowest tariff will offer residents some financial relief.

Stop COCT founder Sandra Dickson said: “We welcome this tiny gesture from the City, but deplore the length of time it took the City to make such a basic and elementary decision.

“The dams already reached 85% full towards the end of August, by which water restrictions governed by national government were automatically lifted as per written directive from DWS (Department of Water and Sanitation) in 2017/18.”

Goodwood Ratepayers and Residents Association chairperson Faisal Petersen said: “The new water tariffs should be in line with what the level 0 tariff was at the height of the drought, as the City renamed the water restriction level 3 to level 1, while charging ratepayers for level 3.

“The City has also refused to review the ‘pipe levy’ so the tariffs should thus return to the true level 0, and not level 2. The cost of living is extremely high, our economy is struggling to recoup, many people are unemployed with no or little income and yet the City is not fully coming to the party by granting a blanket relief for all its ratepayers.”

The City said its decision to lift water restrictions and lower water tariffs was based on three key considerations, among them the national DWS lifting of its restrictions applicable to the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS) of shared dams, of which Cape Town is one of the users. Overall, the WCWSS dam levels reached 100%. The City’s projections indicate dams were unlikely to drop below 50% by next winter.

Earlier this year, the City launched its water strategy, which seeks to ensure sufficient water for the future, and to ensure the city is more resilient to climate change and other shocks.

Mayco member for water and waste services Xanthea Limberg said: “The City has already been actioning the water strategy as 15 million litres of groundwater a day have come online from the Table Mountain group aquifer while other projects, including permanent desalination and water reuse, are also being planned.”

Cape Argus

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