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City of CT defends water meters amid complaints over hefty bills

A De Tijger resident has told Eyewitness News about a water bill of more than R50,000 that she believes is a result of a faulty water management device.

Picture: Pixabay.com.

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town says there are no problems with water management devices (WMD).

A De Tijger resident has told Eyewitness News about a water bill of more than R50,000 that she believes is a result of a faulty water management device.

Another resident in Gardens has complained about a bill of R650,000 due to the same problem.

The Director of Water and Sanitation at the City of Cape Town Peter Flower says about 650,000 accounts are billed every month and 33,000 water meters are read by city officials every day.

“In terms of these high bills being a result of errors in meters, that’s not true. If it was the case, given that there are so many meters out there, we would have far more of these coming in.”

Flower says more people are now being alerted to undetected leaks on their properties due to the tariff increases leading to higher water bills.

He adds there are few cases of faulty water meters being to blame for hefty bills.

“In the past, if you had a leak it may have cost you R10,000 and now it’s going to cost you about R80,000. So, people are now willing to blame the meters. I’m not saying that aren't there are one or two cases where there may be problems, but not on a general basis.”

LISTEN: City of CT says undetected leaks the reason for high water bills, not meters

WATER RESTRICTIONS

With recent heavy rains pushing up Cape Town’s dam levels, many will be asking if it’s safe to start relaxing strict water curbs.

Level 6B water restrictions were put in place at the beginning of 2018 as the drought worsened.

But winter rains have brought some respite.

Eyewitness News took to the streets to find out what people think about the water restrictions.

This man says: “Maybe if they [dam levels] get to 60% now, they will relax it.”

“Yes, definitely. Even in the public toilets, they should open more taps,” says a woman.

Another man added his voice: “I believe it should be reviewed, based on the current percentages of the dams. It should, not completely taken away, but adjusted to the current situation.”

Meanwhile, Cape Town’s Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson says the city’s water projects are all on track despite recent delays at a temporary desalination plant in Monwabisi.

There are currently three temporary desalination plants supplementing the Mother City’s precarious water supplies.

Neilson says other groundwater projects are all up and running.

“As far as groundwater is concerned, Atlantis has been operating for around 12ml/day for a while. We’re currently busy with ramping that up. The projects on the Cape Flats are at various stages of progress.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)