Relief from restrictions

The City of Cape Town has lowered the water restrictions to Level 3.

As Cape Town slowly recovers from the drought, Capetonians have welcomed the news that water restrictions and tariffs have been lowered from Level 5 to Level 3.

Karen Davis, chair of the Greater Table View Action Forum (GTAF) said the lowered tariffs, which came into effect on December 1, were welcomed as people were starting to feel the pinch.

“However, lowering of the restrictions should not mean that people go back to using water the way they were before. If this taught us anything, it was that we waste water daily and we cannot afford to go back to that state of affairs,” said Ms Davis.

She believed the relief would be “minuscule” but “every penny saved is a saving”.

“We have been under-paying for water for years, so it is time to bring it up to the level it should be at,” said Ms Davis.

Mandy da Matta, vice-chairman of the Table View Ratepayers’ Association (TVRA), hoped that the lowered tariffs wouldn’t lead to water wastage.

“Hopefully residents will still apply stringent water-saving methods to their water usage and limiting the number of litres they use in a day. Thereby keeping consumption low with the reduced water tariff, there should be considerable saving to every household,” she said.

She added that as a ratepayers’ association they would like to see the R100 pipe levy for water supply removed.

The easing of the water restrictions means that the previous daily usage of 70 litres a person a day will increase to 105 litres a person a day; or from 500 million litres to 650 million litres of collective usage a day.

The decision to lower restrictions comes after a meeting between the national Department of Water and Sanitation and the water users of the Western Cape Water Supply System.

People who use below 6 000 litres a month, for example, can expect to pay 35.5% less on their monthly water bill.

A cursory look at the new water-tariff structure reveals that “stand alone houses” that use between zero and 4.2kl a month will pay a R13.82 tariff under the Level 3 restrictions compared to the R19.47 they coughed up under the Level 5 restrictions. Houses that use between zero and 35kl a month will now pay a tariff of R69.76 compared to the R345 they paid under the Level 5 water restrictions.

Residents will now be able to top up or fill their swimming pools with municipal drinking water, but a pool cover must be used. Vehicles, trailers, caravans and boats may be washed with municipal drinking water using a bucket.

Commercial car washes may use municipal drinking water subject to industry norms. Spray parks across the city are also now allowed to operate but must be strictly managed to minimise water wastage. The new restrictions allows for limited watering of gardens with a bucket, but no hosepipes or any sprinkler systems.

Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy, said in a statement that Cape Town was on the road to recovery. “We see 2019 as a recovery year after having successfully emerged from the severe and unprecedented drought,” said Ms Limberg.

But Ms Da Matta said the dams are still not 100% full, and even if they were, it still does not warrant making a generalised statement that it would be a recovery year, as we cannot predict the weather she said.

The City said on Monday the levels of the dams which supply Cape Town declined by 0.9% over the past week to 69.5 % of storage capacity. This is compared to dam levels of 34,3% at the same time last year.

It also said the average water consumption decreased by 22 million litres per day to 541 million litres per day for the past week, which is well within the Level 3 usage range of 650 million litres of collective usage per day

To learn more about the new tariff structures visit