30/03/2017 08:51 SAST | Updated 30/03/2017 08:55 SAST

Cape Town To Cut Free Water Scheme To Combat Drought

The City of Cape Town proposes charging for the basic water allowance for households which don't comply with water restrictions.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille

The City of Cape Town wants to scrap its free water policy, as it tries to combat the severe drought which has gripped the city. According to The Times, the city has proposed imposing a 19.25 percent tariff increase for water and sanitation services in the city.

The city tabled its draft budget for the 2017/2018 financial year on Wednesday.

The city has already been declared a disaster area thanks to the drought.

The Times reported that the city currently gives free water to all households up to a maximum of 6,000 litres a month per household.

Now, the city is proposing that only houses valued at R400,000 or less will get free water.

The paper quoted mayor Patricia de Lille, who said the city's dams were now at 17.3 percent of usable water.

She said emergency measures were being considered, including drilling boreholes into the Table Mountain group aquifer and building a small desalination plant.

Mayoral committee member Johan van der Merwe reportedly said the tariff hikes would mostly affect those who have so far not complied with water restrictions. According to The Times, he said that those who are using more than 50,000 litres a month will see an increase of 19.25 percent in July, if the new increases are approved.