Dam levels in the Western Cape have shown an amazing increase to 53.3%, as of Monday. But, the ongoing struggle of paying the additional costs related to the water crisis, has left Capetonians in another drought situation, this time in their wallets.
On top of increasing water tariffs as of 1 July 2018, locals have been paying an additional water delivery charge of R115 which only adds to our struggle as the cost of living seems to keep increasing. Whether it is the price of food or petrol, together with the additional water costs – all these factors are weighing heavily on already struggling Capetonians.
The question most locals are asking now is: What happens to the water levies and extra charges, considering that the dams are filling up?
We asked Cape Town Deputy Mayor, Ian Neilson, about when Capetonians can expect the water surcharges to subside.
“Any decision to lower current water restrictions and thus the tariffs associated with them is dependent on National Government relaxing the restriction on water releases from the dams. The City believes that current conditions warrant a consideration of the relaxation of restrictions. A reduction of 45% for urban areas thus still stands and applies. The City, or any other municipality in the system, cannot adjust its restrictions until the DWS adjusts the 45% restriction requirement,” he said.
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is yet to review its gazetted restrictions on the release from dams.
The DWS has stated publicly that they will look at the lifting restrictions when dam levels are at 85%.
According to Neilson, the City believes that a more phased approach to the relaxation of restrictions is required, based on clearly decided risk parameters. A full lifting of all restrictions may also not be desirable if such an approach is taken, to avoid a repeat drought crisis.
Neilson has written to the National Minister to request a meeting to discuss a properly considered approach to a recovery plan, and awaits his reply. Neilson has also met with the Premier and the MEC for Local Government to discuss an intergovernmental approach to a recovery plan. The MEC will also write to the Minister of Water and Sanitation to request a meeting to discuss these matters as well.
When asked about the future water augmentation, desalination plants and whether there is a need for them now considering our rising dam levels, Neilson said that three are already up and running and referred us to this 2018 Water Outlook Resource.