Water meters could help residents manage the rising costs of water

With the City of Cape Town implementing Level 2 water restrictions from the start of the year and the new fees structured to penalise those with higher water consumption, it is perhaps the right time for managing agents and trustees in sectional title schemes to consider installing prepaid water meters to help residents manage consumption and expenditure, says Mandi Hanekom, operations manager for sectional title finance management company Propell.

“Most households have their water billed in arrears, so they receive their accounts the month after the water has been used, and this could produce some nasty surprises if the cost has not been anticipated. Individual water meters, particularly prepaid ones, are recommended to keep track of what is used as well as sticking to budgets,” she says.

The new fee structure in Cape Town in particular, indicates that to continue to pay the same amount each month as before, a household would have to reduce 20 percent of its water use, which could be difficult to track. For example, if you normally use 24 kl of water every month the usual cost would be R294.62, but, during the implementation of the Level 2 tariff, 24 kl will cost R344.75.

With a prepaid water meter, it will only allow what is paid for to be used and in this way stick to the household allowance each month.

Many sectional title schemes might not have the funds readily available in their trust accounts but there are options available to finance these apart from raising special levies, says Hanekom.

“Special projects such as this can be financed through a loan from Propell, which would mean that the project could be tackled immediately rather than waiting to raise all the necessary funds. This then is repaid by means of a smaller additional amount in the levies each month, making it more manageable for owners to pay for their meters, rather than having to come up with a bulk amount,” says Hanekom.

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