Relief from restrictions

As Cape Town slowly recovers from the drought, Capetonians have welcomed the news that water restrictions and tariffs will be lowered from Level 5 to Level 3.

Mayor Dan Plato made the announcement last Thursday. The new tariffs came into effect on Saturday December 1.

The easing of the water restrictions means that the previous daily usage of 70 litres a person a day will increase to 105 litres a person a day; or from 500 million litres to 650 million litres of collective usage a day.

The decision to lower restrictions comes after a meeting between the national Department of Water and Sanitation and the water users of the Western Cape Water Supply System.

People who use below 6 000 litres a month, for example, can expect to pay 35.5% less on their monthly water bill.

A cursory look at the new water-tariff structure reveals that “stand alone houses” that use between zero and 4.2kl a month will pay a R13.82 tariff under the Level 3 restrictions compared to the R19.47 they coughed up under the Level 5 restrictions.

Houses that use between zero and 35kl a month will now pay a tariff of R69.76 compared to the R345 they paid under the Level 5 water restrictions.

Residents will now be able to top up or fill their swimming pools with municipal drinking water, but a pool cover must be used.

Vehicles, trailers, caravans and boats may be washed with municipal drinking water using a bucket.

Commercial car washes may use municipal drinking water subject to industry norms. Spray parks across the city are also now allowed to operate but must be strictly managed to minimise water wastage.

The new restrictions allows for limited watering of gardens with a bucket and no hosepipes or any sprinkler systems.

Faizel Petersen, chairman of the Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association, said the ratepayers could expect to see some real relief on their water bills from next month.

Ward 27 councillor Cecile Janse van Rensburg said the drought had taught Capetonians a valuable lesson.

“I believe the residents as well as businesses have come to realise that we all need to use water responsibly, as we do not know how much rain will come our way during the next winter,” she said.

Goodwood swimming pool was open this summer, she said.

However, Ashley Fataar, a water activist from the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party, said on Monday December 3 that while he welcomed any lowering of tariffs they did not go far enough.

“The DA is implementing an austerity budget which we reject.”

The installation of prepaid water meters had caused “much inconvenience” to residents with lower income as their water limits were set at unreasonable limits, he said.

He accused the DA-run local government of easing water restrictions to “reclaim legitimacy and credibility ahead of next year’s elections” and said

the tarriffs were still high for most to afford.

“Poor and some middle-class residents are already struggling with the cost of living. Austerity budgets that have resulted in cuts in services and price rises elsewhere, especially for fuel and transport, mean there will be no real relief”.

Goodwood Park Primary School principal Juan Rossouw said the reduced water tariff would help the school.

“Our school still continues to have water savings strategies in place and we have gone through a lot of effort and expenses to secure greywater tanks for ablution and irrigation purposes. We also continue to monitor and regulate the usage daily.”

Mr Rossouw said the school was using 35kl less a month.

“I believe the future is still one of educating the pupils on saving water and not being wasteful when it comes to this resource. We shall continue to use as little water as possible and save some for a rainy day,” he said.

Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy, said Cape Town was on the road to recovery.

“We see 2019 as a recovery year after having successfully emerged from the severe and unprecedented drought. Based on our own assessment, we are following a conservative approach in the light of rainfall uncertainty over the coming two years. These Level 3 recovery restrictions are also a measure to help support the great change we have seen in the relationship that we have with water while, at the same time, providing some financial relief to residents and businesses.

“This is not only a period of recovery for our dams but also for our economy as a whole as well as for our residents and businesses who truly made huge sacrifices to help us get Cape Town through the drought.”

(BLOB) To learn more about the new tariff structures visit http://bit.do/L3-tariffs