The City of Cape Town has been criticised for charging drought-level water tariffs, even though the city’s dams are more than 80% full.
STOP COCT founder Sandra Dickson said the City failed in its management of the water shortage and its aftermath.
“Not only was Day Zero invented to scare people, but water tariffs were increased at every opportunity. This was all done under the guise that these increases would be used for water augmentation. This never happened, as water augmentation is still at the same levels of around 30million litres per day – the same as two years ago.
“The 2019/20 year will be remembered as the year where it rained and the City feeder dams almost reached 85% full. Yet we are paying drought level tariffs for the same water from the dams, through the same pipes,” she said.
However the City maintains that it has one of the lowest water tariffs and rates for the new financial year, despite a 4.5% increase that was passed in its adjustment budget in May.
Mayco member for water and waste services Xanthea Limberg said: “Current water tariffs are at level 1, and aligned to level 1 water restrictions. Cape Town also had among the lowest increases for rates and tariffs for this new financial year.
“Dam levels have improved due to good rains when compared to previous years, but actual rainfall remains below the long term average. One of the main factors that have contributed to dam levels recovering is as a result of low and stable consumption patterns.”
Cape Town’s dam levels have increased to 80.4%. According to the City, it has since moved to reduced tariff levels as the availability of water improved. It is currently at level 1. Last year the City restructured its water tariffs, reducing water restrictions from seven levels to five levels and adding a fixed surcharge.
The City said the bulk water tariffs have been adjusted to align with projected volumes and are reflected in the consumptive tariff schedules. There was a proposed 9% increase on the consumptive tariff for water and sanitation. No increase to fixed basic charges is proposed for the 2019/20 financial year.
“The City will assess the situation at the end of the hydrological year, but the fact that current rainfall remains below the long-term average is an important reminder that water remains a scarce resource. These will remain in place and assessment will be done as per normal, at the end of the hydrological year,” she said.
Total capacity of dams supplying the Cape Metro increased by 2.6% to 80.4% for the week of August 3-10. Consumption for the same period decreased by 33 million litres per day to an average of 643 million litres per day.