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Cape Town considers tariff options as dams fill up for first time in 5 years

Cape Town dam levels reached 91,3% on September 1 2020,
Cape Town dam levels reached 91,3% on September 1 2020,
Image: Anna Nikonorova/123rf.com

The city of Cape Town is weighing its options on lowering water tariffs as dam levels rose to 91.3% on Tuesday after a wet end to August.

Dam levels increased by 3.3 percentage points since August 24 while average consumption decreased by nine million litres a day to an average of 633m litres.

“Significant recent rainfall has pushed total rainfall for 2019/20 close to the long-term average, and dams are close to full for the first time since 2013/2014,” said mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg.

She said these factors would prompt serious consideration of eased water restrictions when the hydrological years ends on October 31.

However, she warned that climate change had introduced significant uncertainty over the sustainability of city water resources and would be taken into account.

She said the city was using 30% less water than before the drought which hit the Western Cape, Northern Cape, and Eastern Cape in 2015 and still persists in some parts.

She said any reduction in tariffs would depend on an increase in consumption and the additional costs which came with increasing the city’s drought resilience.

“It is important that the city covers its costs to ensure the maintenance and augmentation programmes can be carried out," said Limberg.

"Should the amount of water we are selling significantly increase, this will be factored into the tariffs, but given the uncertain impact of climate change it may not be wise to actively encourage such an approach at this stage.”


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