Have your say on drought levy

* Cape Town residents should stick to 87 litres of water per person per day to prevent Day Zero - the day Cape Towns taps run dry.


The last day to have your say is Monday January 15. If approved by Treasury, the drought charge could be on your rates bill by February.

Meanwhile, the City has ratcheted up water restrictions to Level 6 from January 1, reducing monthly household water usage to just 10 500 litres. Households using more than that risk having water-management devices fitted to their mains at their own expense.

According to the City’s water dashboard, only 34% of Capetonians are using the permitted 87 litres a day.

The City says that while many are saving water in Cape Town, about 200 000 households are using more than 10 500 litres a month.

Day Zero -the day the City will turn off most t aps – has also crept closer, to April 29. Capetonians will then have to queue for 25 litres of water a day at collection points.

Constantia is among nine locations which the City says is experiencing “water outages”. Others include Zonnebloem, Glencairn, Sea Point and Bellville.

The Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, which has urged the public “to rise up and resist this absurd and hugely stupid idea of a drought levy”, says the City should, among other things, access the R1bn “green bond” it launched in September last year and trim councillors’ trappings of office to address the severe water shortage.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) is challenging the City’s public participation process on the proposed drought levy, saying it is illegal. And the Constantia Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association is upset that it was held over the festive season, with the proposal having gone out for comment on December 5 last year.

However, Johan van der Merwe, mayoral committee member for finance, said the City had to act fast if it was to find the money it needed to keep water in the taps.

The City not only has to still
pay for routine maintenance on existing infrastructure, it also needs to fund projects to boost supply at a time when revenue is down sharply because of water restrictions.

The drought charge will be based on property value and calculated at between 10% and 11% of the rates portion of your municipal account.

It will only affect owners of homes valued at more than R400 000, and business properties valued at more than R50 000.

It’s hoped the levy will raise R1 billion a year for the next three years to pay for projects to make new water available, such as increasing the output from the Atlantis aquifer, accessing water from the Oranjezicht Main Springs and building desalination plants.

Mr Van der Merwe said the levy would be considered as part of the adjustments budget at the council meeting on Wednesday January 31.

The proposal will also need to be approved by the Minister of Finance.

Comments and recommendations are not restricted in any way and can be made by any
person, ratepayer, property owner or visitor.

Your comments can be submitted by email to drought.charge@capetown.gov.za before Monday January 15.