‘Be on the lookout for water leaks’

2018-07-12 06:01

Average water consumption for the past week is 510 million litres per day while dam levels have again improved significantly by 5% to 53,3% of storage capacity, due largely to the good rainfall.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson says they remain encouraged by the steady increase in “our dam levels midway through our winter rainfall season”.

He says, though, they continue to ask water users to conserve water so that “we give our dams a chance to recover.”

Neilson said he would like to address some of the popular water narratives that are currently in the public sphere.

He believes there’s a misconception that the City of Cape Town is trying to make more money by keeping to the current restrictions and tariffs even though our water situation is improving. “The City does not make a profit on the sale of water,” Neilson pointed out.

“Income is used only for water services. When the restrictions are lowered, more water is sold and so the tariffs are lowered to achieve the same total income.”

Neilson says, as communicated, the City has asked the National Department of Water and Sanitation to have a risk-based discussion on when and how water restriction levels are to be managed.

“We anticipate that some level of restrictions will need to remain even if the dams were to fill up completely,” he said.

“In fact, Cape Town has always had a measure of water restrictions in place as a proactive water management tool. Cape Town is in a much improved position midway through our current winter season compared to where we were at by the end of winter last year.”

Neilson says to give their consumers some hope and relief “we have communicated our intention to propose lower restrictions and the associated tariffs in the near future,” but that this decision is dependent on the national government assessment of the situation and its decision about the gazetted restrictions.

He says the City awaits feedbacks but continue to caution that all must conserve water so a buffer for the summer ahead can be built.

The City issues hundreds of thousands accounts a month. Although inaccurate billing is always regrettable, in fact only a very small percentage of accounts contain billing errors.

“We have noticed reports of customers who have been receiving significantly higher accounts than what they may be used to,” Neilson said. “We will investigate any account query. However, the reason for some significantly higher bills is likely due to underground leaks.

“These are the responsibility of private property owners to fix. However, customers may apply to the City for a rebate if there are mitigating circumstances. We have also enhanced our programme of fixing leaks for our low-income residents.”

He encouraged customers to read their own water meters at least weekly, to monitor their consumption and pick up any problems that may arise, as soon as possible.

Since March 2018 the City has gone to even greater lengths to improve billing accuracy. Estimations are now based over three months to avoid a once-off spike in an account.

If a customer’s meter is inaccessible, the customer can submit his or her meter reading by using the e-Services facility on the City’s website or by phoning the reading in by calling 0860 103 089.

For water-specific enquiries, email water@capetown.gov.za, WhatsApp to 063 407 3699 or SMS 31373.


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