Cape Town announces relaxed water restrictions and tariffs – new pricing

The City of Cape Town has announced that it will be relaxing its water restrictions and revising its tariff pricing from 1 October 2018.

In a statement released on Monday (10 September), the city announced that the Western Cape Water Supply System’s dams are now at 68% capacity – a significant improvement on the situation at the end of the previous winter, when they were at 38% capacity.

This was during a drought so uncommon that it only has an estimated return period of 311 years, the city said.

“The very low supply storage resulted in the imposition of Level 6B water restrictions in February 2018,” it said.

“The enormously positive response from Capetonians when called upon to reduce water usage, as well as advanced pressure and water management programmes by the city, saved the day and Cape Town avoided the worst-case scenario.

“Once dam capacity again exceeded 50% at the beginning of July 2018, the city called for a discussion with the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) around the relaxation of restrictions.

“Since then, two meetings have been held with the other large users in the system, both urban and agricultural, and the DWS. An agreement was reached among the users for a gradual reduction in the overall restrictions, including reducing the urban usage restriction from 45% to 40% of what it would normally be allocated. ”

Interim relief 

The city said that the relaxation of restrictions is a ‘moderate proposal that is based on a hydrological risk assessment that indicates that it is safe to do so at the level of risk that is agreed upon.’

“Of course, the amended Level 5 restriction guidelines for water usage will apply and we are confident that the significant behavioural change that we’ve seen pertaining to water conservation will prevail to a large extent,” it said.

“The city will thus move from the current Level 6B restricts to Level 5 restrictions as from 1 October 2018. A further reassessment of future adjustments will be made once the DWS makes a ruling for the new hydrological year or advises on an interim relaxation.”

The key elements of Level 5 restrictions are as follows:

  • An increase in the personal water use limit from 50 litres per person per day to 70 litres per person per day;
  • A resetting of the overall city water usage target from 450 million litres per day to 500 million litres per day;
  • A relaxation of restrictions for commercial and industrial water users from a 45% to a 40% usage reduction;
  • A lowering of tariffs to Level 5 tariffs.

Residential tariffs (excluding VAT) are as follows:

  • 0 – 6 kL: Down 26,6% from R28.90/kL to R21.19/kL
  • 6 – 10.5 kL: Down 25% from R46/kL to R34.43/kL
  • 10 – 35 kL: Down 56% from R120.27/kL to R52.39/kL
  • Above 35 kL: Down 70% from R1,000/kL to R300/kL

Commercial and Industrial tariffs

  • Down 18% from R45.75/kL to R37,50/kL

The city added there would be a similar reduction in sanitation tariffs.

“During the worst period of the crisis, the city made a compact with our businesses and residents. Together, we agreed to do absolutely everything in our power to get Cape Town through this extreme situation but we can only do so with assistance from all of our customers,” it said.

“We beat the drought together. It is essential that an appropriate relaxation of restrictions takes place not only so that economic activity can be improved, but also so that water tariffs can be relaxed from the current high levels to give the necessary tariff relief to households and businesses in recognition of the great sacrifices that have been made.

“Much work is planned over the next few years to augment the city’s water supply. Our water conservation awareness and demand management will continue as always,” it said.

Read: The 3 types of ‘readings’ to look out for on your water and lights bill – and how to make sure you only pay what you owe

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Cape Town announces relaxed water restrictions and tariffs – new pricing