Dry-as-dust Cape Town to double the price of water

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Dry-as-dust Cape Town to double the price of water

The price of water will more than double between July 1 this year and July 1 2020

Cape Town bureau chief

An average middle-class household in Cape Town faces a 13.65% increase in its monthly municipal bill from July 1.
The city council’s draft budget for 2018/19 proposes inflation-busting increases in rates, water, electricity, sewerage and refuse charges.
Including the percentage-point increase in VAT from Sunday, the household’s bill is projected to rise from R3,398.04 to R3,861.87 — an increase of R463.83.
Times Select’s calculations are based on the February bill (28 days) for a property valued at R2.5-million by the municipality, and containing a family consuming 185 litres of water a day and 1,000 units of electricity a month.
The 26.96% increase in the price of water and sanitation and the introduction of a R56 monthly water service charge, are responsible for almost half the increase.
A 7.2% increase in property rates adds R85 and a 5.7% increase in the refuse removal charge amounts to R8.
The householder will be liable for the council’s proposed new “home user” electricity tariff, which will replace the domestic tariff in 120,000 homes across the city worth more than R1-million and fitted with pre-payment meters, as well as 93,500 homes with credit meters.
The new service charge of R150 a month combined with a slightly lower electricity price will add R150 (8.14%) to the bill for the home. 
Tabling the budget at Wednesday’s council meeting, mayor Patricia de Lille said planned capital spending of R9.2-billion was more than R3-billion higher than in the current budget. Some R2.4-billion of this is related to water augmentation projects.
A total of R10.5-billion is being spent on the capital costs ground water extraction, recycling and desalination projects over six years, with a further R9.34-billion earmarked for operating expenses.Mayoral committee members Johan van der Merwe and Xanthea Limberg told a media briefing that the hefty tariff increases were unavoidable if Cape Town’s finances — hard hit by lower water consumption — were to be restored.
De Lille did not comment on the hefty water and sanitation hikes in her speech, but said the R49.1-billion budget “demonstrates the administration’s pro-poor spending with nearly R3-billion allocated to the social package of services to assist the poorest and most vulnerable in our city”.
Mayoral committee members Johan van der Merwe (finance) and Xanthea Limberg (utilities) told a media briefing that fixed charges for water supply were common around the world. Durban, for example, had a charge of R229.71, they said.
As far as the R150-a-month electricity service charge was concerned, “[it] is comparable to models of private power supply companies in other parts of the world where network charges are common/accepted practice”.
The draft budget is open for public comment and will go to the vote at the council meeting on May 30.

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