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CoCT slammed for not reducing water tariffs after dam levels improve

The city said that tariffs were currently on level 1 and were based on the projected consumption trends so that the income received covered the cost of providing water services.

CAPE TOWN – The City of Cape Town has been slammed for not reducing water tariffs despite dam levels being above 95%.

Costatu and the Good Party have voiced their concerns over the city’s decision and wants the municipality to reassess water tariffs.

The city said that tariffs were currently on level 1 and were based on the projected consumption trends so that the income received covered the cost of providing water services.

When Day Zero was looming, the city raised water tariffs to help pay for various interventions.

Now with dam levels at very healthy levels, Cosatu in the Western Cape wants a decrease in tariffs.

The trade union said that residents were already suffering and struggling to survive because of the economic impact of COVID-19.

And the Good Party’s Brett Herron said it was immoral to punish ratepayers at a time they could least afford it by continuing to charge what were in effect drought surcharges, when dams were all almost full.

“The City of Cape Town’s council must reassess the water tariffs and it must also reassess its water plan because its water plan is no longer relevant as the costs of desalination have far outweighed the benefits.”

Mayco member for Water and Waste Services, Xanthea Limberg, said that the city depended on income from tariffs to provide basic services such as water.

“The tariff covers the cost of purchasing the bulk water, the treatment of the water, the delivery of the water to the people’s homes and businesses and the maintenance of all of the infrastructure.”

She added that the infrastructure included the water, stormwater and sewer networks and pump stations.

“The costs of maintaining these remain largely the same regardless of how much water passes through them or how much water is in the national Department of Water and Sanitation’s dams.”

Limberg said that the tariffs could be lowered if more water was sold but that the market was constrained by an ongoing need to conserve water due to the unpredictable future rainfall.

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