Cape Water Crisis: Cape Town water levy comment period extended

2018-01-10 06:30 - Unathi Nkanjeni
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Cape Town - In the amidst of the drought crisis that Cape Town is facing, the City of Cape Town's executive mayor, Patricia de Lille has announced that the recent groundwater survey has confirmed that the aquifers around the city will deliver more water than expected.

De Lille says at least 150 million litres of water per day will be delivered by the Cape Flats, Table Mountain Group and Atlantis aquifers.

The Cape Flats Aquifer will deliver 80 million litres a day.

The Table Mountain and Atlantis Aquifer will deliver 40 million and 30 million litres a day, respectively.

De Lille says the prime locations were identified to extract more water from these aquifers and the drill rigs can be expected onto sites from this week in the Cape Flats Aquifer. 

"The action to help Cape Town get through the drought is based on an environmentally sensitive approach that will ensure sustainable water abstraction, ensuring generations of Capetonians will benefit from this groundwater," says de Lille.

"This is the first time such an extensive mapping has been done and will ensure responsible use of groundwater through, for instance, the water recharge of these aquifers."

The projects form part of the City's programme to supply additional water from desalination, water recycling and groundwater abstraction, according to the City. 

SEE: Hello 2018, hello ‘largest water restrictions' for Cape Town yet

According to De Lille, over the past few months, the City has been reviewing the initial programme of making additional water available for all residents, however, this has been an intense effort as there is a lack of funding.

"A key change has been greater emphasis on additional water from groundwater," she says, adding that there more money will be invested in groundwater abstraction. 

Water levy

With desalination plants at Monwabisi, Strandfontein and at the V&A Waterfront on track and underway, de Lille says the City needs money to pay for these projects and maintain the water reticulation system and by going about doing so, the City has proposed a drought charge. 

ALSO SEE: Cape Water Crisis: How viable is a festive season 'water tax'?

The drought charge - also known as 'drought tax' - will only affect 464 216 households, out of a total of 707 814 households, according to the City. Out of these, 52 510 households are "expected to pay more than R150 per month", while the "majority will pay less than R47 per month". 

The City however was short on details of which regionor areas would pay what.

"We have proposed the drought charge and invited the public comment and have since received 45 000 comments to date," says de Lille. "We have decided to extend the comment period to midnight Monday, 15 January."

ALSO SEE: WATCH: This is what the City of Cape Town's plan is for Day Zero

Did tourist and residents 'Save Like A Local' this past festive season?

The City says water consumption remained the same despite the increased number of tourists during the festive season. However, consumption remains too high as half of the city's residents are still not keeping to the required amount of 87 litres of water per person a day. 

Although most Capetonians kept to the 87 litres allocated per person, saving up to 54% compared to the 37% of the first week of December, the City says the infamous 'Day Zero' has been moved forward by a week. Instead of the 29 of April, it will now be on the 22 of April 2018.

SEE: Cape Water Crisis: Day Zero rushes forward by three weeks

"Dam levels have dipped below 30% during the first week of 2018, while Cape Town's collective daily water consumption remains above 500 million litres per day target," says de Lille.

The City says, as of this week,  the total storage has fallen by 1.3% and dam levels are now standing out at 29,7% as the overall water usage is 578 million litres per day. 

Added to that, only about 19.7% is usable as the last 10% of water is difficult to abstract from the dam.

In conclusion, De Lille says Day Zero can be avoided, but only if the City and residents work together.

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