The City of Cape Town will introduce level six water restrictions in January, meaning that households using more than 10,500 litres per month could face fines and penalties, Eyewitness News (EWN) reported on Wednesday.
And according to the Cape Argus, a controversial drought levy has been approved by the council and could be implemented from February 1 next year, subject to a public participation process.
According to EWN, the new restrictions mean that non-residential properties will have to reduce their consumption by 45%. Agricultural water users will have to drop their consumption by 60%. Borehole water use is discouraged to save groundwater.
Many are critical of the levy, Cape Argus reported. ACDP councillor Grant Haskin reportedly said the city had not exhausted other programmes. He said there were many other cities suffering from financial problems who had reworked their tariffs to ease the strain on poorer households, while others did not raise surge charges.
People whose properties are valued at less than R400 000 will not pay the drought charge, while a residential property valued at R800 000 could pay a charge of R45.
The ANC had proposed that properties starting at R1.5 million should be charged, and those with lower valuations should be charged according to household income.
Mayoral committee member for water affairs, Xanthea Limberg reportedly said this was only for three winters, and that the charge won't be permanent.
Meanwhile, the agricultural sector has been hit hard by the water restrictions. Agri-Western Cape spokesman Jeanne Boshoff told The Times that farmers will have to restrict themselves to higher-value crops.
"This has already resulted in less vegetables being planted in the Ceres area‚ and to fruit trees being cut back. This means smaller crops‚ which is putting the entire agricultural sector in the Western Cape under enormous pressure‚" she said.