FORK OUT: Water tariff increase will hit pockets

Depending on the amount of water used, residents could be forced to fork out up to 19.75 percent more if the proposed rates, included in the municipality’s 2017/18 multibillion rand draft budget, are approved during a special council meeting on Tuesday.

Mayor Patricia de Lille said: “The severity of the drought necessitates the acceleration of our repairs and maintenance programme as well as staffing strategy to ensure that service delivery and responsiveness expectations are being met.”

De Lille will table the R44.3 billion draft budget for adoption next week, reports the Cape Argus.

Other proposed increases include a 3.34 percent increase in the price of electricity.

De Lille also said the proposed social package of R2.7bn would help relieve some of the financial burden experienced by poor households.

It includes a 100 percent rebate for households with a gross monthly income of R4 000 or less, and 60kWh free electricity for households using less than 250kWh per month.

The City Council said the draft budget would be presented at community meetings before it is debated and adopted.

Residents are told to only use 100 litres of water per person per day — for drinking, cooking and washing — as Level 4 restrictions will be implemented on 1 June.

Meanwhile, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says mense in the Cape must get used to using less water as the region’s climate is transforming.

The province's annual winter rainfall has been declining over the past four years and will probably never go back to what it was.

Currently, there are less than 60 days of water use left.

Zille says water saving measures will need to become long term and ultimately permanent as the climate keeps changing.

She says the purpose of declaring the area a disaster zone was not to frighten residents, but to allow the province to shortcut the process of reprioritising the budget.

Dam levels dropped to just 20 percent this week, with no significant rainfall forecast in the near future.

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