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Summary:

  • The average water consumption for the past week was 505 million litres per day
  • Warm, windy weather over the past week has drastically slowed down dam recovery. This is in line with the preceding weeks of very little rain
  • Dam levels have thus improved only very slightly, and not as significantly as in recent months, by 0,2% to 56,9 % of storage capacity 

Dam recovery over the past few weeks has slowed down significantly, in contrast with the rapid rise in dam levels experienced in previous months. This trend shows that rainfall is very difficult to predict and that Cape Town should carry on with its amazing water-saving efforts to build a buffer for the summer months ahead.

‘It is also imperative that adequate levels of water restrictions, and the associated tariffs, remain in place. Although our situation is much improved, we cannot be careless and short-sighted. We need to ensure that we give our dams a chance to recover as much as possible.

‘If water restrictions are lowered to appropriate levels by the National Department of Water and Sanitation, the City will then lower the associated water tariffs. Restriction levels are linked to dam levels, and restriction tariffs are linked to the volume of water used by the city. This means that, if the restriction level is reduced, individual water use is expected to increase as the tariff decreases, ensuring the City receives the same total income required to maintain and repair infrastructure. The slowdown in the rise of our dam levels will therefore affect any decision to adjust the current restriction levels.

‘City officials continue to engage with the relevant provincial and national government officials and the situation is being monitored. We are grateful for the sacrifices that our residents are making and, from the City’s side, we will continue to do all that we can to ensure that consumption levels are kept as low as possible,’ said the City’s Executive Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson.

Water tariff myths busted:

Myth Busted
Average water tariff increase is 500%. The average tariff increase for the first step of the tariff (where most consumers should be under Level 6 water restrictions) has been R2,65 per kilolitre, which reflects a 10.1% increase.
The most vulnerable are no longer protected from tariff increases. Out of the approximately 1,1 million households in Cape Town, water is provided at no charge to just over 40% of these households. Support for vulnerable residents remains in effect. Some 175 000 informal households have access to water and sanitation without charge.
The City did not spend R1,6 billion of its water and sanitation budget, yet it is asking residents to pay even more. This budget allocation mostly comprises money that was made available for the extreme emergency that Cape Town was facing. Because of the collaboration between the City and its residents, this money did not have to be spent on a Day Zero scenario. It is thus a positive outcome that the money was not required to be spent. And it has not been lost either. All in all, the City achieved its highest spend ever on water and sanitation (R1,7 billion).
The City’s much-publicised water augmentation projects basically came to nothing. The City’s augmentation programme is being implemented to ensure greater resilience in future. It includes:

·         groundwater projects at Atlantis, the Cape Flats aquifer and the Table Mountain Group aquifer

·         temporary desalination plants at Strandfontein, Monwabisi and the V&A Waterfront (up and running)

·         water re-use projects

The City says it needs income as it lost income because of the drought, so why am I reading that the City has over-recovered more than R1 billion in water and sanitation income? This amount refers to billed revenue, not actual revenue. The actual revenue that was over what was originally budgeted is R263 million as at June 2018. At present, the rates account is covering part of the cost of water and sanitation provision. If the amount of R263 million is finalised as actual cash, the over-recovered water income will again go toward water and sanitation provision and other rates-funded services will receive the funds that would have been spent on covering water and sanitation rates-funded services.
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