File Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency/ANA.

Cape Town - While Cape Town residents have received some relief on water restrictions, a lobby group has called for the drought levy to be scrapped.

Stop CoCT’s Sandra Dickson believes while the relaxed water restrictions have brought relief to ratepayers, the drought levy should be scrapped and the high tariffs addressed.

Dickson said while on the surface it appeared that ratepayers might save costs, some might find themselves paying more.

“On a rough calculation, if someone under the Level 5 restrictions used about 8.5kilolitres a month they would have paid around R240, but now under Level 3, if they use an extra 4kilolitres they will pay R20 extra. The amount might seem insignificant but if they keep consuming more, that will add up to a high amount. Our main goal should be to continue saving water and using less,” said Dickson.

The city’s water supply from the dams is shared between ratepayers and the agricultural sector and it is expected that it will share its full quota between now and April.

“The dams are not big enough to supply everyone,” Dickson said.

“We need to ensure we have enough water until the next winter rainfall. It’s concerning that the augmentation supply from the desalination plants has dropped as well. This raises the question: is it sustainable and reliable?”

On Saturday, Level 3 water restrictions began, allowing residents to use up to 105litres a person a day and to save about 35% in costs if less than 6000litres of water is used in a month.

Collectively, residents have to use no more than 650million litres a day, up from Level 5’s 500million.

Experts have cautioned against excessive consumption as the city still needs to save water.

Dr Willem de Clercq of the Water Institute at Stellenbosch University, has attributed the decision to adjust the water restrictions as an “economic” move. He said the City of Cape Town’s income from water had come down considerably as many residents had decided to use less when Level 6 restrictions and tariffs were in place.

“The city now needs to sell more water to recover the losses. Those who will fill up swimming pools or over-use water will pay heavily,” De Clercq said.

However, he cautioned against falling back on high water consumption which led to the threats of Day Zero and stiff water restrictions.

Mayor Dan Plato also urged residents to continue being “water-wise”.

Weekend Argus