Drought levy

R Rutherford, Vasco

I wish to comment on the drought levy which I think is unfair.

People should be charged according to the amount of water they use. For example, people, who get free water should be checked so that they do not use more than the amount allocated.

Many street people use water that they get from homeowners who can’t afford to lock their taps or erect high fences around their property to keep them out.

Street people also use water obtained from public facilities such as shopping malls. The shopping malls foot the bill, whereas the street people don’t pay. The same applies in squatter camps and some townships, where there are communal taps which are often not turned off properly or simply have leaking washers or pipes.

People who pay for water are more conscious of saving water, especially those in the middle-income group who have to count their cents.

The area in which one lives also makes a difference. Areas where there are many trees have more shade to protect the vegetation. The areas around the mountain still have patches of green grass along the freeways where trees grow. In the northern suburbs there is very little green grass and some people are laying artificial grass in this area.

More attention should be paid to desalination. There are many countries which are far worse off than the Western Cape, yet they cope. Why is our government stressing about boreholes, which eventually dry up, instead of making use of the sea around us. Consult the scientists who have knowledge and experience about desalination. Our politicians need to think further and for the long term.

How is 87 litres a person each day assessed? The number of people living in a house fluctuates over time. We need and use more water when we have guests, less when we go away on holiday and more when people become ill and need dressing for wounds and baths. How does the City of Cape Town assess the needs of an individual household?

In case, you think, I favour the rich, I don’t. I get a rebate on my rates and I am a pensioner. I do, however, feel a drought charge is unfair. Each individual, should be treated the same as we are all affected by the drought — it has nothing to do with one’s income.