Water restrictions in Cape Town will start on January 1 – and the price of water is to increase.

But those consumers who cut water consumption by 10 percent will see their monthly water bills stay the same. Yesterday the City’s mayoral committee approved the implementation of “level 2” water restrictions which are designed to effect an overall 20 percent reduction in water consumption.

Mayco member for Utility Services Ernest Sonnenberg said the council still had to pass the committee’s decision before water restrictions could come into effect.

“But you can accept that the Mayco decision has a reasonable chance of being adopted by council. We can’t implement this until council has adopted it… but it is a given to some extent. Consumers have been given long enough to alter their behaviour patterns.”

Sonnenberg said the change in water tariffs had been designed so those who reduced consumption by 10 percent would not see higher water bills.

For instance a consumer who normally used 24 kilo litres of water a month, at a cost of R294.62, and who reduced consumption by 10 percent would continue to be billed for R294.62 once water restrictions came into effect. However, if the consumer failed to cut consumption by 10 percent and continued to use 24kl a month, the consumer would pay R344.75 a month.

The level 2 water restriction price hikes will be on a sliding scale.

The first 6kl will remain free. The cost of a kilolitre for those consumers who use between six and 10.5kl a month will increase from R11.07/kl to R11.66/kl; those who use between 10.5 to 20kl will increase from R15.87/kl to R18.24/kl; between 20 to 35kl will increase from R23.51 to R29.75/kl; between 35 and 50kl from R29.03 to R45.40/kl and above 50kl the price will increase from R38.30 to R85.09/kl.

The level 2 water restrictions price hikes do not apply to the indigent nor would they affect the free basic water allocation of 6kl a month.

Restrictions include that watering gardens, sports fields or other grassed areas will be outlawed between 9am and 4pm.

This ban also applies to those using borehole water.

No one may water gardens within 24 hours “of rainfall that provides adequate saturation”.

Consumers may use hose pipes and irrigation systems only on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during approved hours, and for no longer than one hour in total on those days.

A hose must have a controlling device attached to the end. Hoses used to wash cars must have automatic self-closing devices.

Residents who have borehole water must put up signs to this effect, which are visible from public thoroughfares.

No automatic top-up systems for swimming pools or garden ponds are allowed.

Consumers who wish to apply for an exemption should e-mail: Water.Restrictions@ capetown.gov.za

For those in flats or complexes supplied by a single metre, or on commercial, backyarder or industrial tariffs, visit http://iol.io/waterrestrictions for tariff hikes.