City of Cape Town revises approach to water metering

Cape Town – The City of Cape Town’s new council-approved water metering approach has been slammed as an acknowledgement that restricting the water supply of indigent households was “inhumane” and “inadequate” for large homes.

The City this week said it will, as of July 1, start implementing its revised approach to domestic metering. All registered indigent households will receive an allocation of up to 15 000 litres of water and the related 70% calculated for sanitation, at no charge per month.

The City’s Water and Sanitation Department will begin the process of releasing volume-restricting water meters to “open flow” and registered indigent households will no longer have a Water Management Device (WMD), with a daily volume of water allocated to the property, but will need to take responsibility for ensuring the amount of water used at the property remains within the newly increased monthly limit of 15 000 litres.

If water usage on the residential property is higher than the limit for two consecutive months, a warning letter will be issued.

If usage is higher than the limit for a third consecutive month, a flow restricting disc will be inserted into the meter, to limit water supply to a trickle flow, for the next 12 months.

For civil society group Stop CoCT, Sandra Dickson said that the City had created another dilemma for itself with this new policy, which can be viewed as a “slap in the face” for the faithful households paying their bills every month, under very difficult circumstances as a result of job losses and reduced income because of Covid-19.

“The City just accepts that the loyal payers will continue to pay and accept the water levy, which is just increasing with each budget cycle.

“If the City wants to be fair and caring, it should also pass some of its relief to this category of loyal payers. The City persists with the levies and inadequate relief to pensioners and other struggling households, which narrowly do not qualify for the City’s stringent requirements to register as an indigent household,” said Dickson.

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