Cape to shell out even more for water

04 December 2017 - 07:52 By Aphiwe Deklerk
City of Cape Town. File photo.
City of Cape Town. File photo.
Image: Cape Town Tourism / Craig Howes

Cape Town residents will have to dig even deeper into their pockets next year - the city is planning to introduce a new levy to keep the taps running.

The City of Cape Town wants to introduce this "drought charge" by February 1.

A report to be tabled at Monday's council meeting shows that the city wants to raise R1-billion a year in the next four years through the levy.

Property owners will have to cough up a minimum of R35 a month.

The levy was first hinted at by mayor Patricia de Lille last week, when she told the media that the city needed the money to fund its water augmentation programmes.

Cape Town is facing its worst drought in more than 100 years.

In the report to the council, the city said it considered the economic and household effects of an adjustment.

"In order to provide some additional funding for the daily provision of clean water, a temporary charge has been considered for the duration of the period of recovery of the dams - a period estimated to be about three winter seasons," it reads.

"This drought charge, if based on property valuations, is deemed the most progressive of the options while being the most equitable and fair to poor households. It is also an administratively efficient system that allows for the adverse economic incidence to be minimised in accordance with the provisions in the Rates Policy."

The new charge will be aimed at residents whose houses are valued at more than R400,000. Businesses with properties valued at more than R50,000 will also have to pay the levy.

According to the report, homeowners whose houses are valued at R600,000 will pay R35 a month.

"The drought charge is necessary to ensure water supply for all residents as acute water shortages will have dire implications for all residents and the local economy. Combating this unprecedented drought requires a partnership with the city and residents whose help is crucial to enable the city to bring additional water supply online," reads the report.

De Lille's spokesman, Zara Nicholson, said the report was the city's proposal and was subject to the council's proposal.

"The city will go out for an intensive communications campaign to get inputs from residents and businesses and it's also subject to the minister of finance's approval," said Nicholson.

Nicholson said the drought charge was not linked to how much water a resident uses.

"It's linked to your property rates and it's needed for the city's vital water projects," said Nicholson.