Cape Town residents must brace for water tariff hikes


Water, tape

CAPE TOWN - Cape Town residents have been warned that their February water and sanitation accounts will reflect new punitive tariffs, which came into effect at the start of the month, in a bid to drive down consumption.

The new tariffs are designed to encourage residents to cut their use to the new 50 litres of water per person per day according to the new water restrictions, the City of Cape Town said on Tuesday.

The city is battling in its bid to stretch its water resources as far as possible to avoid taps running dry.

"We find ourselves in a truly unprecedented situation and, as a city, we have had to make some incredibly difficult choices. It must be emphasised that all water and sanitation revenue from the tariff increases goes toward water and sanitation services. The tariffs are linked to usage. The more you use, the more you pay," said Cape Town deputy mayor Ian Neilson.

READ: How does Cape Town know taps will run dry on April 16?

The city added that it does not make a profit on water sales. "We will still cover the cost of basic water for our indigent residents, but for the rest of our water users, these tariff increases are unavoidable. The highest users will face the greatest increases."

Day Zero, the day Cape Town&39;s taps are to run dry, was moved on Monday to May 11 from April 16, this due to a decline in agricultural use. There has also been a decline in urban usage but not at a sufficient scale, the city said.

"All Capetonians must, therefore, endeavour to use no more than 50 litres per person per day to help stretch our dwindling supplies through summer. We trust that the tariff increases will serve as a deterrent against high usage. As a city, we are required to keep within the allocation as set by the national Department of Water and Sanitation. We are not there yet," Neilson said.

The City said the cost of water (the total monthly bill at Level 6 tariffs and including VAT) for a non-indigent person would be:

  • R179.58 for 6 kilolitres
  • R415.56 for 10.5 kl
  • R1,555.56 for 20 kl
  • R6,685.56 for 35 kl
  • R20,365.56 for 50 kl

One kilolitre is a 1,000 litres.

Efforts by the city to supplement its water supply continue as work on various desalination plants is underway. 

Work is proceeding on the Monwabisi, Strandfontein, V&A Waterfront, and the Cape Town Harbour desalination plants, the Atlantis and Cape Flats Aquifer projects, and the Zandvliet water recycling project which will collectively produce an additional 196 million litres per day as they come on stream between February and July 2018.

READ: Water crisis: Day Zero could affect a million children

"The City thanks our residents for their major efforts over the past year to reduce their water consumption. Unfortunately, we still have to reduce consumption further to ensure that we do not run out of water," Neilson added.