Cape Town launches water tracker as drought tax looms

The City of Cape Town has launched a water map to assist residents to track their water usage, while city officials say a new water levy could be implemented as early as February if it gets council approval.

“Our water map marks residential properties using less than 10,500 litres per month with green dots. The map is a transparent tool and will assist in actively managing and reducing consumption to avoid Day Zero.

“The greener we go, the more we push Day Zero away. The map shows that many households across Cape Town are working hard to save water as part of the effort to get us through our worst drought,” said the City of Cape Town’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille.

Day Zero will come when dam levels reach 13.5% and most taps will be turned off. This date is currently set at 22 April 2018.

Consumption is indicated on the water map as follows:

  • Dark green dot: household using less than 6,000 litres per month
  • Light green dot: household using between 6,000 and 10,500 litres per month
  • Grey dot: estimated readings when the water meter is not read for some reason; or if no information is available for the property.

“Households with higher consumption may have many people living on the property or may have an undetected water leak. The city continues its interventions with these users,” said De Lille.

The map only shows consumption for free-standing houses and not cluster housing, flats or other land uses. In addition, the map shows consumption for the previous month and is updated around the third week of the following month. For example, January 2018 consumption information will be available in the third week of February 2018.

Households using more than 10,500 litres per month are not shown on the map.

Drought tax may hit in February

Meanwhile, the controversial ‘drought tax’ that has been proposed for residents and businesses in the City may be in effect as early as February if it gets approved, according to the city’s mayoral committee member for finance, Johan van der Merwe.

The levy has still not been approved for implementation, with the proposal receiving over 60,000 comments from the public when it opened up for input earlier in the year.

Van der Merwe told IOL that not all comments were necessarily against the plan to charge communities for water use, but all submitted notes would be taken into consideration.

He said that the City does not make any profit from water revenue, and that the additional levy would be crucial for funding strategies to combat the water crisis impacting the Western Cape.

The proposal ultimately lies in the hands of city council and the minister of finance for approval.

If approved, the average ‘non-indigent’ water user would pay just over R70 per month.

With SA News

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Cape Town launches water tracker as drought tax looms