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City of CT’s drip system plan 'punishing the most vulnerable' - UCT researcher

10 June 2021 3:44 PM
Tags:
City of Cape Town
water management
water usage
Water management device
drip water system
flow-restricting disc
indigent households

CapeTalk host Lester Kiewit chats to UCT researcher Dr. Suraya Scheba about the City of Cape Town's new approach to domestic water metering.
  • The City of CT's new water management approach has been slammed for being anti-poor
  • The municipality plans to scrap water management device meters and will implement a new system to manage water usage in indigent households
  • The plan includes the use of a flow-restricting disc, known as the 'drip system' for homes that exceed 15,000 litres per month for three consecutive months

Water runs from a tap. Picture: EWN.

UCT researchers and other academics have warned that the City of Cape Town's proposed drip system will entrench water apartheid in the city.

UCT lecturer Dr. Suraya Scheba is one of the scholars who believe that the new water system will punish people who cannot pay for water and violate their right to water.

Dr. Scheba says the City's revised approach to domestic metering approach will hurt the most vulnerable people in Cape Town.

RELATED: Cape Town phasing out water meter devices - but new plan for poor homes slammed

The City announced that it is phasing out water meter devices and implementing a revised water tariff approach to manage water usage in indigent households.

The current proposal will see the water usage limit for indigent properties increased from 10,500 litres to 15,000 litres per month.

However, indigent homes that exceed the limit for three consecutive months will have their water cut to 6,000 litres per month for a 12-month period using a flow restricting disc referred to as the 'drip system'.

Dr. Scheba says the 'drip system' doesn't take into account the growth of backyard dwellings and large household sizes in Cape Town due to the housing crisis as well as high unemployment and poverty levels.

She says the City needs to consider the structural factors that will disadvantage many low-income residents under the proposed regime.

The scholar has urged the municipality to rethink its approach to equity, water usage and debt management.

What we are arguing is that at the heart of this approach is the denial of household sizes and how we conceive of a household.

Dr. Suraya Scheba, Lecturer - Department of Environmental & Geographical Sciences at UCT

Alongside the issue around water access, we have a deepening housing crisis within the city... People are responding is to self-provide housing. Either household sizes are growing and alongside that, backyard dwelling is a growing phenomenon.

Dr. Suraya Scheba, Lecturer - Department of Environmental & Geographical Sciences at UCT

This proposal of 15,000 litres per household fails to recognise that on a single plot we have multiple households.

Dr. Suraya Scheba, Lecturer - Department of Environmental & Geographical Sciences at UCT

People have to self-manage to use 15,000 litres and if they fail to do so over a period of 3 months they will be placed on a trick-flow where water is literally trickling out of the tap with 6,000 litres per household per month for a 12-month period.

Dr. Suraya Scheba, Lecturer - Department of Environmental & Geographical Sciences at UCT



10 June 2021 3:44 PM
Tags:
City of Cape Town
water management
water usage
Water management device
drip water system
flow-restricting disc
indigent households

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