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This Is How The Water Crisis Affects The Average Consumer’s Pocket

water crisis cape town

It’s safe to assume that the majority of Capetonians have started making some adjustments to their current lifestyle in order to fit in with the “new norm” in the city. Whether it’s a grey water system, a borehole, a Jojo tank, collecting spring water or having the 2-minute, intermittent shower, most of us are trying to save and use less water. Everyone in town is talking about the water crisis and what they are doing about it.

Although it seems that saving water would cost you less, the tools, equipment and systems needed to save water can be expensive. Most consumers wouldn’t have budgeted for these new expenses. Many would have to use savings or rely on credit cards or loans to pay for these unexpected expenses.

South Africans Are Already In Debt

According to a 2015 World Bank report, 10 million of the 21 million credit active consumers in South Africa are more than 3 months in arrears on at least one of their debts. This is usually a sign of over-indebtedness. Many South Africans already rely on debt to make it through the month. Crisis such as the drought can have a large impact on household budgets.

The increase in the water tariffs will also affect households in Cape Town. The City of Cape Town has adopted a ‘the more you use, the more you pay’ strategy which punishes households that use too much water at home:

See new prices below:

Due to the lack of a savings culture in South Africa, most households use up all of their monthly income. With the increasing costs that come along with the drought, many families simply won’t be able to get by. The increase in water cost, coupled with drought-driven purchases may cause households to become over-indebted. The goal is to save water without increasing your living expenses. Although this may seem difficult, it can be achieved. Consumers need to learn to live within their means and also make sacrifices.

The new tariffs have been introduced to try and combat Day Zero, which is the day that the municipal taps are switched off in Cape Town.  Due to the slowdown in agricultural water use, Day Zero has been pushed back to the 11th May. It is possible for the city to avoid Day Zero during the water crisis. Households must stick to their limits and continue adopting water saving practices.

Focus On Saving Water And Money During The Water Crisis

In order to reduce household costs consumers should limit water usage and aim to use below the required 50l per person per day. This will keep your water bill to a minimum. Before installing expensive boreholes and Jojo tank systems, make sure you can afford them. Work out how much you can afford and start small by buying a few buckets, bottles and other water saving items.

Consumers are urged to create a monthly budget and list all of your expenses. It is important to track your living expenses and identify where you are over spending. Set yourself goals and review them each and every month. If you are struggling to juggle your living expenses and your debts, speak to a debt counsellor.

Water Saving Tips

There are many water-savings tips. If everyone stands together and does their bit we can defeat Day Zero!

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