Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has confirmed that the municipality is considering a levy or a surcharge for water, because the municipality needs additional funding for its water augmentation schemes.

Addressing the media on Thursday‚ De Lille said the city has funded the scheme with R2.6bn from its own coffers.

"I will be honest with you‚ we have been considering a water levy or a water surcharge‚ among the other mechanisms, to fund our augmentation schemes‚" said De Lille, adding that the city will only raise its water tariffs next year.

She said the city was also looking at funding options from the French Development Bank‚ the German Development Bank, and local banks. "This is all to avoid ‘day zero’. But any proposal we put on the table that will enable us to survive this crisis will be, and must be, subject to public participation. So when we are ready to [present] any proposal that will impact on water uses‚ we will [ensure] public participation."

Day zero is when the city has to cut water supply to residents entirely; De Lille has said that will be done when dam storage levels reach 13.5%.

De Lille has been addressing the media about the city’s new water dashboard‚ which will help residents track and monitor their water usage‚ the city’s dam storage levels and the progress of the augmentation projects. The city plans to introduce its first seven projects — which will add a total of 196-million litres of water per day for residents — in February.

The projects consist of six desalination plants, and one water recycling plant in Zandvliet. According to the dashboard‚ the city’s augmentation projects are 48% complete and the dam storage levels are at 36.2%.

It also shows that only 44% of Capetonians are complying with the restriction of 87 litres per person per day.

"While the good water saving efforts had pushed [day zero] out from March 2018‚ many residents took this as a sign that there was some reprieve," De Lille said. "The fact that it has moved forward [to May 6] is due to consumption increasing to 602-million litres of water per day this past week." She urged residents to save even more water if day zero is to be pushed further back.

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