New water restriction tariffs hit Cape Town: what you need to know

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National water dept, City of Cape Town differ on water consumption level for next year

The national Department of Water and Sanitation has ruled that Cape Town needs to cut water consumption by only 10% for the year starting in December.

This comes just days after the City of Cape Town announced that residents would need to cut consumption by a much bigger 30% for the coming year.

But, in spite of the national department's announcement, the City has said it is not going to change its more conservative decision in the near future in order to avoid getting back to the Day Zero-type crisis Cape Town faced last summer. Instead, it will adopt a wait-and-see approach.

Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson expressed surprise that the national department had set water savings as low as 10% - a big step down from the 45% savings the department had set for the past year.

"We thought they might go down to 20%. I find 10% a bit surprising," Neilson said on Monday.

Neilson added that the City would monitor both dam levels and water consumption, and would reassess the situation early next year.
I'm with the city on this...rather be safe than sorry and have a possible "re-run" of Day Zero madness. Rather a gradual reduction than a massive reduction of the water restriction levels.
 

PeterBee

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My guess would be it went like this:

Over paid politician: We need more money from this water thing, we don't get as much anymore because people have become water wise
Over paid politician 2: How about we charge the pipes
In fact the City managed the falling demand for water very well. To the extent that they over-recovered on the water revenue account for the year ending June 2018. There was no collapse in water revenue following the reduction in the city's daily water consumption from 1200 to less then 600 mega litres.

The budgeted 2017/2018 water revenue was set at R4 billion. Actual water revenue came in at R4.35 billion. (figures per National Treasury S71 reports).

This was achieved by scrapping the 6 kl free monthly supply (except for the poor), and increasing tariffs from R4 to R26 per kl (first level tariffs).

(In the previous year ending June 2017, budgeted water revenue was R3.2 billion, and actual revenue was R3.5 billion).

On the water expenditure account, the budget was R3.2 billion, and actual expenditure was R3.1 billion. It is not clear where the expenditure on drought related costs was recorded (water measuring devices, aquifers, desalination etc), but the actual revenue of R4.35 billion less actual expenditure of R3.1 billion leaves an apparent surplus of R1.25 billion on the water account.

So why the need for a completely new type of tax, raising an estimated +R1 billion in extra revenue (my estimate), and which reduces consumer spending power by R300 billion in VAT paid to Pretoria?

I've been trying for 3 months to get comment on the above from the City, with no luck. These figures do not make sense in terms of the City's public claims and announcements. This leaves me confused and receptive to the argument that the drought has been used a an opportunity to hike city tax revenues (electricity connection fee also introduced this year).

(Note - figures from national Treasury - all municipalities are required to report budget and actual financial results per budget item)
 

Agent_Smith

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I think (or at least hope) that most of us will continue our water saving methods despite the relaxation of restrictions. Things like stop/start showers and catching shower water in a bucket as it is heating has become second nature to me and I can't see myself changing this.
 

PeterBee

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But if they had increased rates accordingly there would have been another uproar. The people in the most expensive areas would have thrown a fit. The drought levy was in effect additional rates based on property value. People protested and the city switched to a fixed monthly water charge. Those that protested patted themselves on the back and continue to crow about their victory.
Who are these people with so much influence, that they could force the City to buck the global trend and tax middle and lower income homeowners, instead of just lumping the entire tax burden on the "rich". Why change a century old tax system comprising a tax on property values coupled with tariffs for metered supplies? Why a completely new flat tax, which has no relation to income/wealth, or consumption? Not that the rates tax is anything but iniquitous. Would love to know who in the city came up with this idea.
 

noxibox

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National water dept, City of Cape Town differ on water consumption level for next year

I'm with the city on this...rather be safe than sorry and have a possible "re-run" of Day Zero madness. Rather a gradual reduction than a massive reduction of the water restriction levels.
The city is going for the right balance. There's more water than there was in 2015 and they're being a bit more cautious than they were that summer. If the rain is poor next year they'll still get to summer with a good supply and if the rains match 2018 the dams will be close to full.

So first the national water department says no relaxing of restrictions because the dams didn't hit the magic 85% and now they want to drop it to what was the fairly longstanding, effectively standard, water reduction of 10%.

Some of the truly paranoid posters on the news articles about the reduction to level 3 will probably blow a gasket if the city drops to level 1.

Who are these people with so much influence, that they could force the City to buck the global trend and tax middle and lower income homeowners, instead of just lumping the entire tax burden on the "rich". Why change a century old tax system comprising a tax on property values coupled with tariffs for metered supplies? Why a completely new flat tax, which has no relation to income/wealth, or consumption? Not that the rates tax is anything but iniquitous. Would love to know who in the city came up with this idea.
Flat charges aren't new. The global trend, or just the way it has always been and continues to be, is to tax everyone except the rich.

Those people were citizens of Cape Town. I can't comment on their income level.
 

Corelli

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And now you know the reason why the DA barely scraped over 50% of the western cape vote. The people in Cape Town are pretty pissed off and they basically went "Dracarys". Its just going to get worse for the DA. People are tired of their we are better than everyone else. You know being 2nd worst in running a province doesnt make you best either. Just mean that some voted for the corrupt they know than the corrupt they dont know.
 

noxibox

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This thread has gone awful quiet!

Doesn't seem that the squabbling over desalination has ended: https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/...-with-city-of-cape-town-plans-to-sue-20190515
Based on that article I'd say QFS didn't do proper research and now want to blame the city. Given the location I'd go in assuming the water was likely to be dirty. Also if I am going to build a plant I'd test the water. I don't know the contract details, but it is strange to make any of that the city's responsibility. Will have to wait to see what the details are here.

And now you know the reason why the DA barely scraped over 50% of the western cape vote. The people in Cape Town are pretty pissed off and they basically went "Dracarys". Its just going to get worse for the DA. People are tired of their we are better than everyone else. You know being 2nd worst in running a province doesnt make you best either. Just mean that some voted for the corrupt they know than the corrupt they dont know.
They made some errors in judegement regarding the water crisis, like not raising restrictions earlier, not telling the public that there were taking action against the central government and apparently not having really thought through the logistics of having people collect water. But then again De Lille was at the centre of that yet she managed to get some votes for her new party. So perhaps the DA lost those two seats due to disgruntled Cape Town residents. And yes they might still be in control because there aren't any other viable alternatives, but so far there doesn't appear to be much corruption and what there is looks like pretty small potatoes. Frankly that's politics the world over - it's always about pragmatism. The only way the DA will actually lose the Western Cape is if another viable option comes along or the demographics changes drastically. Otherwise you just stick with the people who have run things pretty well so far.

I don't see why people would be tired of the DA portraying themselves as better, because overall they have continued to prove they are better. Maybe they are the second worst, but that still beats the worst, and by a very large margin.

Nationally the calculus would be different. And there the DAs incoherent policies may well have hurt them.

Anyway they now have 2 years to get themselves in order before they be facing another municipal vote, so time will tell whether they lose sole control of Cape Town or gain control of places where they had to form coalitions. Nationally they've got 5 years to decide on some coherent policies and who they want voting for them.
 

C4Cat

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Based on that article I'd say QFS didn't do proper research and now want to blame the city. Given the location I'd go in assuming the water was likely to be dirty. Also if I am going to build a plant I'd test the water. I don't know the contract details, but it is strange to make any of that the city's responsibility. Will have to wait to see what the details are here.
Smit said the disputes began in February last year, one month into the two-year contract. After conducting its own water characterisation report, QFS noticed that its results did not match the City’s feed water specifications provided in the tender.

Smit said the water was “40 times dirtier” than expected. QFS reports showed that, compared to the data in the tender, the ocean water was higher in both salinity (saltiness) and turbidity (murkiness). This discrepancy had forced the company to spend more capital than expected to treat the water and desalinate it.
https://www.groundup.org.za/article...-cape-town-desalination-plant-stop-operating/
 
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