No more water restrictions for Cape Town, but residents will face water-wise tariff
Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has decided to lift water restrictions in the city and to move to the lowest tariff, being the no restriction, water-wise tariff from November 1.
The City made the announcement on Tuesday, where after the mayoral committee (mayco) unanimously supported the decision to lift water restrictions, and the item is set for council’s approval next week.
According to the City, it has been conducting ongoing assessments over the past few months and has been “proactively” monitoring the situation.
Mayor Dan Plato said that mayco noted the expert advice from the Water and Sanitation Department and support its decision to lift the 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.
“While we need to continue to be mindful of climate uncertainty, residents who feel comfortable enough can begin to relax water saving efforts in good conscience, while being water-wise, due to the significant increase in dam levels.
“These anticipated movements in the warmer summer months have been factored into the latest anticipated usage patterns for lowering the tariffs from the current second lowest tariff level, to the lowest, no restriction, water-wise tariff.”
The mayor said that the water-wise tariff had been approved by Council as part of the set of tariffs for the City’s 2020/21 budget.
“This lowest tariff will offer residents some financial relief while ensuring we can still provide reliable water services and invest in new water sources. Tariffs are set to cover the cost of providing water and sanitation.
“This includes the maintenance of infrastructure and making sure Cape Town is resilient by investing in and adding new sources to its water supply and becoming a water-sensitive city,” said Plato.
The decision to lift water restrictions and lower water tariffs was based on the following three key considerations:
- The National Department of Water and Sanitation’s (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%.
- City projections indicating dams are unlikely to drop below 50% by next winter. The lifting of all restriction measures, except for existing water regulations permanently in place due to the proactive management of water resources, will allow for water-wise usage, in line with the lowest tariff, which is slightly lower than the current, second lowest tariff level.
- City projections also indicating the latest anticipated water usage patterns for the coming summer will be sufficient to allow the lowering of water and sanitation tariffs from the second lowest tariff to the lowest, no restriction water-wise tariff level. These tariffs are already part of the Council-approved budget for the 2020/21 financial year, which followed due process including a public participation process.
Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg added: “Cape Town’s recent drought crisis made it clear that it’s necessary for the City to build water security by investing in future water sources as outlined in our Water Strategy.
“The City has already been actioning the Water Strategy as 15 million litres of groundwater per day have come online from the Table Mountain Group Aquifer while other projects, including permanent desalination and water reuse, are also being planned.”
Limberg said going forward the City will continue to implement cost-saving and water-wise plans and encourage Cape Town to continue to be water smart.