Cape Town jumps for joy as water curbs and prices plummet
Cape Town’s water restrictions will be eased further from December 1, mayor Dan Plato announced on Thursday.
Restrictions will be scaled back from level 5 to level 3, and the limit on daily usage will be 105 litres a person, up from 70 litres.
The new usage limit is more than twice the 50 litres Capetonians were asked to confine themselves to at the height of the Day Zero emergency.
The city’s new collective water-use target from Saturday will be 650 million litres a day, compared with a never-achieved 450 million litres under the unprecedented level 6 drought restrictions.
Plato said water tariffs were also being reduced, and households that limited their monthly consumption to 6,000 litres would pay 35.5% less. The requirement for businesses to reduce their water consumption by 40% year-on-year has also been removed.
The mayor said the relaxation of restrictions followed the latest assessment by the national water department. Dam levels were at 71% on Wednesday, compared with 36% a year ago.
Plato said the government assessment indicated that Cape Town water users needed to save between 10% and 20% of their historical water consumption for the new hydrological year.
“However, the city has decided to implement a more cautious 30% saving to help with the recovery of the dams and to cater for the uncertainty that exists around rainfall volumes and frequency in 2019,” said Plato.
“While the drought is not yet over, we have seen that there is room to bring some relief to our residents. I know it has been tough and I hope that this reduction in tariffs will bring some comfort over the festive season. We will still need to be water-wise though, as we do not know what the next rainy season holds.”
Xanthea Limberg, the mayoral committee member for water, said the council saw 2019 as a “recovery year”.
“Based on our own assessment, we are following a conservative approach in the light of rainfall uncertainty over the coming two years,” she said.
“These level 3 recovery restrictions are also a measure to help support the great change we have seen in the relationship that we have with water while, at the same time, providing some financial relief to residents and businesses.
“This is not only a period of recovery for our dams, but also for our economy as a whole as well as for our residents and businesses who truly made huge sacrifices to help us get Cape Town through the drought.
“Due to the extreme economic and rural hardship that has been suffered as a result of the drought, the agricultural sector will only reduce water usage by 10% as it, too, enters a period of recovery. The city fully supports this move as the agricultural sector also supported the city as an urban water user during the height of the drought.”