City of Cape Town set on fixed water charge despite full dams
Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has said it won’t budge to the demand to scrap the fixed water charge.
It said that should the fixed component of the water tariff be dropped, the consumption tariff would have to be increased to compensate. This comes as residents urge the City to revisit water tariffs as dam levels reach 100%.
Mayco member for water and waste service Xanthea Limberg said: “The fixed component forms part of the tariff structure. Tariffs are set only to cover costs of providing a reliable water service, including the maintenance of infrastructure and investing in new water sources to ensure Cape Town’s water supply is more resilient to future climate shocks.
“The fixed component of the tariff covers approximately 20% to 25% of the City’s costs.” Limberg said the fixed component of the water tariff was not an additional charge.
“The water tariff comprises a fixed component and a usage component, both forming one tariff for water. It is not an additional charge, and not a penalty. The total tariff covers the cost of providing water.
“The fixed part helps to contribute a stable income, because water provision needs to be paid for, whether water usage goes up or down, as experienced during the drought.”
The City is preparing to deliberate on the water tariffs at the end of the month.
In response to the drought, the Strandfontein, Monwabisi and V&A desalination plants were designed to be temporary plants and were commissioned for a two-year period as part of the Water Resilience Plan, now referred to as the New Water Plan. A combined total of 14 million litres a day were supplied from these plants.
The City has maintained that the fixed charge contributes to the fixed costs for operating the water and sanitation service and that fixed charges for basic utility services are in place in municipalities nationwide.
Limberg said: “The drought also showed us that we could not rely on residents buying the same amount of water, and these fluctuations have a dramatic impact on the income that has to pay for the service.
“The cost of maintaining the infrastructure that provide the service remains largely the same regardless of the volumes of water passing through the system, from the point of raw water purchases from the National Department of Water, to treatment to drinking water standards, through reticulation network, into our homes and ultimately down the toilet and onto the wastewater treatment plants.”
Stop CoCt founder Sandra Dickson said: “If the fixed water charge can’t be scrapped in this financial year, it should be considered in the next financial budget year. The City is currently busy with the budget for 2021/22. We therefore call for a revision of the entire water tariff structure, water restriction levels, 0-6KL free water for all and the fixed basic charge.”
Goodwood Ratepayers and Residents Association chairperson Faisal Petersen said: “At what point does Xanthea Limberg get fired for her and her department’s incompetence?”