water tariffs city of cape town

Image via: @DWS_RSA / Twitter

City of Cape Town urged to revise water tariffs after storage improves

The Department of Water and Sanitation has called for water tariffs and restrictions to be revised based on the storage within the supply system.

water tariffs city of cape town

Image via: @DWS_RSA / Twitter

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has called on the City of Cape Town to revise its water tariffs and restrictions following a significant improvement in the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS). 

The department says it has reasonable grounds to believe that weighted average combined bulk water storage of the WCWSS that supplies water to both agricultural and domestic Industrial users, has improved significantly over the 2018, 2019 and 2020 rainy seasons and that the system is no longer under severe stress and that the reserve storage that was gradually depleted over the last five years, has been replaced. 


Upon the respective system decision dates, November of each year, following good rainfall and local water restrictions, the system storage improved from 37.44% on 1 November 2017 to 73.64% on 1 November 2018 to 82.8% on 1 November 2019 and 88% on 1 September 2020. 

“The DWS wishes to express our sincere appreciation to the City of Cape Town, the City Council, senior management and officials at the Water & Sanitation Department, not overlooking the business, industry and residential user sectors that continued to apply measures of effective water demand management over the last few years that also significantly contributed to meeting the demands in 2019/20 and the next few years thereafter,” said National Water Resource Infrastructure (NWRI) Director Simphiwe Mashicila. 

Goverment Gazettes in December 2017 and December 2018 on local Water Restrictions within the area of supply stipulated that; “These notices are effective from the date of publication in the Gazette and shall remain in force until the WCWSS recovers to above 85% at which point the Western Cape Regional Head must lift the restrictions”. 

Based on the above directive and the combined weighted storage of the water system, Mashicila feels that water tariffs and restrictions should be re-looked.

“As a result of the combined weighted storage of the system dams having reached 88% on 1 September 2020 all restrictions are repealed. The DWS urges both the public and business to continue making specific measures to observe their water demand management as put by the City of Cape Town,” said Mashicila.


The department will review the status quo of the system in November 2020 to determine if any level of restrictions will be necessary in 2020/2021. 

Mayco Member for Water and Waste Xanthea Limberg said consultations around appropriate tariffs and restrictions for the 2020/21 hydrological year (which runs from 1 November to 31 October) are currently taking place. 

“The City will communicate the outcomes of this standard annual assessment process towards the end of this month,” she said.