Cape Town water consumption spikes
With dam levels having dropped by 0.5% to 20.9%, water consumption in drought-stricken Cape Town has spiked by 5% over the last several days, from 516 million litres to 542 million litres.
The spike is worrying City officials, prompting further calls for Capetonians to continue to use less than 50 litres a day per person despite weather fluctuations.
The City of Cape Town’s deputy mayor Ian Neilson says: “We have made great progress so far but we’re not yet out of the woods and we must continue to keep out usage as low as possible. Although the winter months will likely bring more rain, we cannot estimate how much rain we will have, or count on it having a significant impact on our dam levels. The city will therefore continue its drought interventions, including pressure management, accelerated leak repair, level 6 b water restrictions and tariffs for as long as needed, to see us through the drought.”
"Due to the severity of the drought, above-target consumption, as well as the unpredictability of climatic conditions, Level 4 water restrictions remain in place indefinitely over the long-term and could be intensified if warranted," a statement from the City said on Monday.
"Apart from safeguarding our current sustainability, we must think about building additional reserve capacity by continuing with the most hard-hitting water-saving efforts that we can muster. It may take a few seasons of normal rainfall for the dams to recover and we must bear in mind that we are expecting an even tougher summer in 2018."
The City has appealed to the courts for tougher action to assist in tackling non-compliance of Level 4 restrictions and has managed to negotiate the maximum spot fine for a contravention and that it be raised to R5,000, rising to R10,000 or even a prison sentence for serious or repeat offences as per the new fine schedule for Level 4 restrictions.
Activists marched to Parliament to oppose the City of Cape Town’s water and electricity tariff proposals. The march was organised by two groups, Save Cape Town and Stop COCT.
Stop COCT founder Sandra Dickson says they’re demanding that the City reduce the cost of water and include public participation for all water-based decisions.
“How can the City of Cape Town expect the working class to pay about 25% more on a municipal bill?”
Hoda Davids, a protester from Mitchells Plain, says “The [increases] will force poor people, who are already battling to put food on the table, into more debt.”
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