Members of the public are reminded, as part of the comment period on the City of Cape Town’s draft Budget (2021/22), that they have the opportunity to submit their comments on the proposed revised approach to domestic metering, which encourages residents to manage their own water usage and will see the roll-out of the latest conventional metering technology. The public participation period ends on 3 May 2021. Read more below:
The Water and Sanitation Department is proposing that, from July 2021, the City no longer installs new water management device meters (WMDs), and that WMDs currently in service be replaced by the conventional meters with the latest metering technology as they reach the end of their expected lifespan.
As a result, the City’s approach to managing water usage in indigent households will also change.
It is proposed that usage limits that have been programmed into WMDs throughout the city will be systematically removed from 1 July 2021.
In place of volume-restricted WMDs at registered indigent properties, the City is proposing an alternative water management approach, where customers take responsibility for using less than a maximum limit set by the City.
This approach forms part of proposed changes to the Tariff Policy as per the 2021/22 Tabled Budget.
|Proposal for customers who qualify for indigent benefits|
|· Existing WMD meters will be set to ‘open flow’, over time with effect from 1 July 2021. It will not happen immediately for all meters and will be done in phases. However, these customers will now be required to keep their monthly water use within a limit approved by Council. (15 000 litres (15kl) a month is the current proposal). · Water and sanitation will be provided at no charge, but water usage on the property may not be more than the water volume limit as set by Council. As leaks on private plumbing will be counted by the meter as part of usage, property owners must act quickly to fix leaks. Households should check their monthly bills for any continuous spikes in monthly usage as a means to check for underground leaks in particular. (The City will still assist with once-off fixing of leaks on the indigent property where this has not been provided previously). · If water usage on the residential property is higher than the Council-approved limit for two consecutive months, a warning letter will be sent asking for the usage to be lowered to required levels by the following month. · If usage is higher than the approved limit for a third consecutive month, despite the issued warning, then a flow restricting disc will be inserted in the meter to limit water supply to a trickle flow. · These discs are designed to allow 6 000 litres (6kl) per month to the property, which is aligned with the free basic allocation provided for in South Africa’s national water standards. This disc will remain in place for the following 12 consecutive months. After the 12-month period has passed, the disc will be removed and the same process for the property will start again.|
|Proposal for customers who do not qualify for indigent benefits|
|· Non-indigent customers whose accounts are in arrears for non-payment of municipal-related services will have their water supply restricted or reduced to a trickle flow using a flow-restricting disc, if they do not settle their account in full or enter into an agreed payment arrangement in response to the debt management warning letters. This is the same as the current debt management procedure as per the City’s Credit Control and Debt Collection Policy.|
Reasons for the review of metering approach:
The City is committed to achieving the objectives set out in the Water Strategy. This includes the ‘wise use of water’ by all water users and managing the water network to reduce losses.
The City will continue to support registered indigent residents through monthly water allocation at no charge, while promoting active management of that allocation.
‘Since WMDs were first used by the City about 15 years ago, they have played an important role in bringing water usage down to more sustainable levels, and helping residents be more conscious of how much water they use.
‘WMDs were also installed in the drought crisis to restrict excessive use by non-compliant customers.
‘Since WMDs were introduced, Cape Town has experienced both a severe drought and a year-long pandemic with lockdowns. These factors have significantly impacted our residents, our relationship with water and our economic situation.
‘Taking into account the current economic pressure on residents that has been created by Covid-19 lockdowns; current urbanisation trends and growth of backyard tenants; and increasingly crowded conditions in many communities, the City is proposing to adapt our domestic metering approach to ensure a better balance between financial sustainability and ensuring adequate access to water for our most vulnerable residents.
‘It is proposed that the volume of water provided to qualifying indigent households be increased, and that they be given the opportunity to independently manage their monthly water usage, and play an active role in the collective effort to avoid wastage and maintain a sustainable level of water use.
‘In addition, residents on average are now using far less water than before the drought crisis, and there are new water supply schemes coming online (as per the City’s Water Strategy) that will protect this city better against possible future droughts that are likely to occur as a result of climate change.
‘We believe that we have reached a point where residents, as our partners in water management, are entrusted with keeping their water usage within reasonable levels. The City, however, will continue to monitor and take steps to prevent excessive use, as outlined above.
‘We encourage members of the public to submit their comments on the budget proposals using the available channels,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste, Alderman Xanthea Limberg.
Public participation: comment by 3 May 2021
Covid-19 has an impact on the public participation process.
To view the Tabled Budget please visit: www.capetown.gov.za/budget or go to your nearest subcouncil office or library for a copy of the budget.
Community-based organisation (CBO) representatives may contact their subcouncil managers for further details on their respective area-based community meetings.
By email: Budget.Comments@capetown.gov.za
Through your Ward Councillor / Subcouncil offices
Phone: 0800 212 176
For assistance to comment in English, Afrikaans or isiXhosa, please phone 0800 212 176
Visit www.capetown.gov.za/HaveYourSay for more information.