New tariffs frowned upon by residents

A recent image of the dried-up Theewaterskloof Dam. The City of Cape Town has introduced new water tariffs in the drought stricken region.

The City of Cape Town said the new tariffs are to ensure that residents stick to the allocated 50 litres a day under Level 6B water restrictions.

Meanwhile deputy mayor Ian Neilson announced this week that Day Zero has been pushed back to Monday June 4.

The new water restrictions tariffs are 6kl: R179.58, 10.5kl: R415.56, 20kl: R1555.56, 35kl R6 685.56 and 50kl R20 365.56.

According to the City, over the past week, consumption has been lowered to 526 million litres per day. “This is the first time that the weekly average usage has remained under 550 million litres due to the City’s pressure management interventions and the efforts by our residents to use as little water as possible,” said Mr Neilson.

However, the new tariffs have been criticised by some residents in the area. Richard Bendal, deputy chairperson of the Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers’ Association, called the tariffs “atrocious”.

He also said that it was unfair to punish residents who have been doing their best to save water. “They are totally unfair. The word punitive means punished. You’ve also got a huge discrepancy between businesses and residents. I understand we’re in a crisis but it makes no sense to punish people who’ve done well. Businesses have not pitched in until now and now it’s too little, too late.” He also said that the new tariffs were just the City’s second option to the proposed drought levy which was knocked back in Council.

Osman Shaboodien, chairperson of the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association, also criticised the water tariffs. “It is disgusting. We should not have to pay for the incompetence of politicians.” He also said that the poor people in Cape Town will be hit hardest by the new tariffs.

Mr Shaboodien said the infighting within the DA was merely exacerbating the problem. “We as Cape Town need to come together and fix this mess. This madness must stop. If we don’t tackle the problem then we are all going to lose. We were led to believe that everything was under control,” he said.

The City of Cape Town added that dam levels are at only 24.9% compared to 36.1% last year and 43.3% in 2016. Mr Neilson said although the dam levels are much lower than a year ago, they have more information and more control over the system that supplies water to the city.

“Our continued interactions with the national Department of Water and Sanitation have led to much improved data-sharing and analysis, allowing for more reliable modelling and dramatically improved control over dam levels.”