The City of Cape Town is set to meet at the end of October to discuss whether water tariffs in Cape Town should be lowered. This move comes as frustrated organizations and residents’ associations consider taking action against the City for their ‘delayed’ action.
Following the substantial rains the Western Cape has received, the National Department of Water and Sanitation has lifted water restrictions in much of the province. The regulation states that once the Western Cape Water Supply System reached 85%, the restrictions should automatically be suspended by the regional manager.
The system reached 88% on the 1st September 2020. However, a long overdue review is set to take place in November. Some of the local municipalities affected include Stellenbosch, Saldanha Bay, Drakenstein but not Cape Town.
Speaking on VOC’s Breakfast show on Wednesday morning, department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said with a substantial increase of rainfall over the past three years, the system has improved to the point where its reserve storage that was depleted over the last five years has been recharged.
“From our point of view once we reach 85% within a system the act determines that the restrictions should be lifted and that is what the provincial head as made a decision upon,” stated Ratau.
Ratau explained the delay can be blamed on the conclusion of the annual hydrological cycle. The hydrological cycle of the earth is the sum total of all processes in which water moves from the land and ocean surface to the atmosphere and back in form of rain. The hydrological cycle is dependent on various factors and is equally affected by oceans and land surfaces.
“The hydrological cycle which is concluded in November will determine the type of rain we can expect for the upcoming rainy season and subsequently what the outcome will be for consumers,” detailed Ratau.
“Each local municipality makes decisions on what is best for itself at any given time. For instances you may find that metro could life restrictions but retain the tariffs and that is the final decision that will be taken,” added Ratau.
However, Stop COCT founder Sandra Dickson said the statements made by Ratau are in direct conflict with what the City had been conveying to its residents.
“On several instances have we heard that the City is waiting for Department of Water and Sanitation to reduce the water restrictions or the tariffs. There is clear contradiction happening and it is unfortunately at the expense of consumers,” said Dickson.
Dickson has requested transparency from the City to aid the welfare of its consumers.
“The entire tariff system, restriction levels and pipe charge should be revised and proper public participation and input should be incorporated into the new structure,” urged Dickson.
However, Mayco member for water and waste services Xanthea Limberg said residents are reminded that any decisions related to water tariffs and restrictions going forward will apparently be mindful of residents.