The City of Cape Town has announced that it will be implementing a water delivery charge of R115 or less per month to 95% of households to make up for the water deficit caused by the drought period. This new fixed delivery charge will enable the City to continue to operate its water supply network. In an alert posted by the City of Cape Town’s Dr Gisela Kaiser, Executive Director of Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Management Services, she explained that the City’s water demand has been lowered to about 500-million liters per day, which effectively means that the city is selling half the water it used to, but must still provide the same delivery services.
In a video post Kaiser said the same services need to be carried out but because less water is being used, less money is being generated to pay for the same services as before. “The cost of running the water and sanitation network has not changed in direct proportion to the amount of water used and sold. The same repairs and maintenance are necessary to keep water and sewerage flowing reliably. The same number of metres need to be read and the same number of invoices need to be generated. In order to keep water flowing in your taps, we have introduced a water delivery charge system. More than 95% of households will pay a monthly charge of R115 or less per month,” she said.
Registered indigent households will not pay the fee. Kaiser emphasised that the charge is vital to keep services afloat, and reassured residents that the city will not make a profit from the fee, as all the money will be used for the supply of the water network. Thus far, the Mother City has received good winter rainfall, and this seems to be easing the strain of the one of the worst droughts the City has ever seen. They have gone as far as cancelling plans to hire a desalination barge to supplement the water supply.
The new fixed delivery charge will enable the City to continue to operate its water supply network. Dr Gisela Kaiser, executive director of informal settlements, water and waste services explains how this revenue will be used. #ThinkWaterCT pic.twitter.com/OT0WAAfzO4
— City of Cape Town (@CityofCT) June 19, 2018
In the meantime, other projects will be implemented to ensure that taps do not run dry, including reducing water pressure and tapping into underground aquifers. Three small-scale desalination plants, all of which are near completion have been built to augment the water supply.
The City is now also looking at plans to build permanent desalination and water recycling facilities, which will produce a much bigger output.
Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for water and waste services, said that there is much experience to by gathered by the City over the past year. “For future resilience, permanent desalination and water re-use are recommended as alternative sources of water to add to ground and surface water supply sources,” she said. She added that temporary desalination should not be further pursued as it is not fiscally viable. The City has urged residents to continue in their water-saving efforts despite the last few weeks of good rainfall.
“The good rainfall we have received over the past four weeks has increased our dams storage to the same levels they were at towards the end of winter of 2017,” the City said. “While this is good news, it is too soon to know what supply level is needed in order to safely navigate the summer of 2019. It is therefore critical that we continue to keep our consumption low.”