The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee has unanimously supported the city’s decision to lift water restrictions in Cape Town and to move to the lowest tariff from 1 November 2020.
The committee said that the decision to lift water restrictions and lower water tariffs is based on the following three key considerations:
- The National Department of Water and Sanitation’s (DWS) lifting of its restrictions applicable to the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS) of shared dams, of which Cape Town is one of the users. Overall, the WCWSS dam levels reached 100%.
- City projections indicating dams are unlikely to drop below 50% by next winter. The lifting of all restriction measures, except for existing water regulations permanently in place due to the proactive management of water resources, will allow for water-wise usage, in line with the lowest tariff, which is slightly lower than the current, second lowest tariff level.
- City projections also indicating the latest anticipated water usage patterns for the coming summer will be sufficient to allow the lowering of water and sanitation tariffs from the second lowest tariff to the lowest, no restriction water-wise tariff level. These tariffs are already part of the Council-approved budget for the 2020/21 financial year, which followed due process including a public participation process.
“Apart from the dams filling up to capacity and beyond in recent weeks, this is another moment to be celebrated as, in a few short years: we have gone from the worst drought to face our city and a potential water ‘Day Zero’, to full dams and zero water restrictions besides the need to stay water-wise,” the committee said.
“We are situated in a water-scarce region so we will always need to ensure we are sustainable and future-fit.”
The city said that it was ‘mindful’ of climate uncertainty, but that residents who feel comfortable enough can begin to relax water saving efforts in good conscience due to the significant increase in dam levels.
“These anticipated movements in the warmer summer months have been factored into the latest anticipated usage patterns for lowering the tariffs from the current second lowest tariff level, to the lowest, no restriction, water-wise tariff,” it said.
The key points around the new water tariffs are as follows:
What residents need to know about water tariffs:
- Cape Town city’s water costs on average 4c per litre in comparison to R10 per litre for shop-bought bottled water;
- Based on the first 10,500 litres of water used + 15mm meter the average bill will be R411.99 on the no restriction, water-wise tariff. This is compared to R785.38 under the Level 6B tariff at the peak of the drought;
- The city’s water tariff, like some other metros, has a usage and a fixed part and it forms the total water tariff that covers the cost of providing water. This includes the maintenance of infrastructure and making sure Cape Town is resilient by adding new sources to its water supply and becoming a water-sensitive city;
- The cost of providing the service remains largely the same regardless of how much or little water is used, or how full the dams are;
- Residents who are registered as indigent do not pay the fixed basic part of the water tariff and receive a free allocation of water monthly;
- The city does not budget for a profit/surplus from the sale of water, and seeks to keep costs of service delivery as low as possible.