Theewaterskloof Dam’s level may be higher than it was but restrictions are still in place.
Cape Town - Cape Town is not out the woods yet despite dams levels rising to 56.9% this week and a relatively positive rainy season.

Provincial dam levels need to reach at least 85% before water restrictions can be eased and before any relief on the cost of water and sanitation services can be felt by the consumer.

Department of water and sanitation spokesman Sputnik Ratau said the department, which was responsible for the gazetting of water restrictions, would only revisit restrictions after a significant increase in dam levels.

The City of Cape Town imposed Level 6B water restrictions on residential and commercial users from February this year and more charges have been added to water bills.

Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson said it had been agreed in a meeting between the city and the department last month to discuss increasing the city’s water allocation or easing restrictions, but that it was not yet appropriate to lift restrictions and that there would be a phased approach to the recovery of the dams.

He said the recent increases in water tariffs were necessary for the provision of water and sanitation services.

“The city must emphasise that we do not leverage the water supply system to subsidise other municipal services.

“All revenue recouped via the water tariffs is used to provide water and sanitation services,” Neilson said.

He said a 19.9% increase across tariff levels was required to cover the cost of providing water which was underfunded for a number of years.

According to Neilson, the city is not in a water crisis, but water supply remains stressed.

Neilson conceded that the water problem could have been better managed.

“As we have never experienced a drought of this severity, there are some other areas in which we could have been better prepared,” he said.

[email protected]

Weekend Argus