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Cape Town lifts water restrictions, moves to lowest tariff from 1 November

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.
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Cape Town lifts water restrictions, moves to the lowest tariff from 1 November

In a unanimous decision, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee (Mayco) has supported the City’s decision to lift water restrictions in Cape Town and to move to the lowest tariff- the no restriction, water-wise tariff from 1 November 2020.

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The decision was reached on Tuesday, October 20 following the considerations below:

  • 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.

“The Mayco has noted the expert advice from the City’s Water and Sanitation Department and we support its decision to lift the water restrictions and to lower the water and sanitation tariff to the lowest approved level by Council. We have always had a proactive approach to the management of our resources, financial and natural, and we are happy to support the decision,” the Mayco said in a statement.

What residents need to know about water tariffs:

  • City 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.
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