Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee has recommended that the City imposes Level 3 water restrictions from 1 November 2016, with corresponding tariff increases to follow from 1 December 2016.  These stricter water restrictions are in line with a directive from the National Department of Water and Sanitation to reduce demand on the Western Cape Water Supply System (dams) by 20%.  See the old and new water tariffs in table below.

Domestic Water Tariff Steps Charges on Level 2 (20% reduction)  Rands per kl (incl. VAT) Charges on Level 3 (30% reduction)  Rands per kl (incl. VAT)
Step 1 (0 ≤ 6 kl) R 0 R 0
Step 2 (>6 ≤ 10,5 kl) R 15,68 R 16,54
Step 3 (>10,5 ≤ 20 kl) R 20,02 R 23,54
Step 4 (>20 ≤ 35 kl) R 32,65 R 40,96
Step 5 (>35 ≤ 50 kl) R 49,83 R 66,41
Step 6 (>50 kl) R 93,39 R 200,16

The tough reality is that in the Western Cape we need to turn water woes into learning how to be water wise.  Right now we are faced with punitive price increases aimed at fast tracking compliance to ensure that the target of a 30% reduction in water consumption is achieved.  (The prices also ensure that in spite of lower consumption, the City still gets the financial return it budgeted for on the sale of water.)  According to MAYCO Member for Utility Services‚ Ald. Ernest Sonnenberg Cape Town residents as a whole did not achieve the reduction in water use that was aimed for with the introduction of the level 2 restrictions in January 2016. The previous low compliance presumably justifies the higher prices associated with Level 3 restrictions and the higher prices for the sewage levy – even though this appears to amount to some double counting!

Domestic Sanitation  Tariff Steps (charged to a max of 35 kl) Level 2  Rands per kl (incl. VAT) Level 3   Rands per kl (incl. VAT)
Step 1 (0 ≤ 4,2 kl) R 0 R 0
Step 2 (>4,2 ≤ 7,35 kl) R 13,24 R 13,98
Step 3 (>7,35 ≤ 14 kl) R 23,39 R 27,47
Step 4 (>14 ≤ 24,5 kl) R 28,15 R 35,29
Step 5 (>24,5 ≤ 35 kl) R 36,48 R 48,65

The El Nino weather system that caused some of the driest weather conditions over Southern Africa in living memory has weakened, sadly, too late for the winter rainfall regions of the Western Cape whose dams are at critically low levels.  So while the water restrictions appear onerous, they are essential to ensure enough water through the summer for all.  Cape Town is the fastest growing metro in a generally water stressed country.  Add to this the Climate Change predictions of less rain for the Western Cape in the future.  These factors all indicate that strict water restrictions and high levies may become the new norm.

To report water leaks or abuse of water SMS the City of Cape Town on 31373. 

Residential use of municipal water accounts for almost 60% of water consumed in Cape Town.  Learning how to  save and use water more efficiently in our homes and gardens will save valuable kiloliters.  for tips on home water saving read more at:

Municipalities in South Africa and especially Cape Town need a far more comprehensive water demand management strategy.  It is an essential Climate Change adaptation to ensure resilient and sustainable Cities.  Key issues that should be looked at are:

Water savings and efficiency technologies in all new buildings.

A priority pipe burst hotline and dedicated repair crew.

Use of and promotion of recycled water.

Promotion of rain water harvesting.

Management of common ground water resources.

Enforcement of water restrictions.

We need to grow a culture of “water is precious – so use it with care”.

Kim Kruyshaar Oct 2016