No discount if you use grey water to flush loo

Douglas Parris of Fish Hoek is building a new house, and as he is planning to use grey water and rainfall catchment to flush the toilets, he wondered how it would affect his sewerage bill. In other words, will he get a discount?

“Many years ago, we were levied a bill based on the number of toilets in a house: now we get a bill based on the volume of water used. We use this water for cooking, watering the garden, washing the car and filling the pool, so we get a slightly reduced rate on sewerage,” Mr Parris said.

“Which is not a problem, but now the municipality has seen fit to increase this charge due to the drought. However, I can’t understand it. Surely, if water is going to be more costly, sewage treatment will also be more expensive?

“As this will affect many homeowners, could you ask the City to explain their thinking. I have tried to talk to them, and, although we both speak English, we are unable to understand each other,” Mr Parris said.

Mayco member for utility services Ernest Sonnenberg said that before 2006, sanitation charges was based on property values. However, With the introduction of the Property Rates Act, the City implemented the current methodology where a percentage of water consumption is used to recover the cost for the provision of the service.

“As customers are probably aware, the City implemented Level 2 water restrictions on January 1 this year. As restriction measures are implemented to save water due to the current climatic conditions, the volumes of water consumed will reduce.

“It is important to note that due to the current climatic conditions, it is necessary to achieve a 10 percent reduction on the overall water consumption.

“Which means customers need to adhere to the restrictions. In order to ensure that the City still recovers the cost for the water and sanitation service delivered, the tariff had to be increased,” Mr Sonnenberg said.

“As the sanitation charge is based on a percentage of water consumption, the reduction in water usage has a direct impact on recovery of the cost to provide the sanitation service. Tariffs are developed to recover the cost of providing water and sanitation services, and this does not decrease in proportion to the amount of water provided to customers.”

Here is a hypothetical example: Standard cost to supply water = R1 000, cost to supply sanitation = R630; Kl of water consumption = 100kl, calculated Kl of wastewater disposed = 70kl; tariff to recover cost of water = R10/kl, tariff to recover cost of sanitation = R9/kl. Under restriction conditions: Cost to supply water = R1 000, cost to supply sanitation = R630; Kl of water consumption (10% reduction) = 90 kl, calculated Kl of wastewater disposed (10% reduction) = 63 kl, tariff required to recover cost of water = R11.11/kl, tariff required to recover cost of sanitation = R10/kl.

So there you have it. Even if you use grey water and rainwater, there will be no discount. As they used to say: “Dis die wet van Transvaal: K*k en betaal (That’s the law of the Transvaal: K*k and pay).

Crochet Home

Emma Lamb



Review: Brian Joss

When times are tough, you need a plan to earn some pin money, and this book will put you on the road, if not to riches, at least to a healthier bank balance.

Emma Lamb is hooked on crochet, and you could be too. The Edinburgh-based designer spends her days dreaming up and designing colourful crochet projects using a combination of colour, pattern and texture, with, she says, inspiration from the Scandinavian aesthetic. She has put together 20 “vintage modern crochet projects for the home”, ranging from garlands and decorations to simple potholders, cushions, blankets and throws. Lamb gives step-by-step instructions to help you make a masterpiece using materials as diverse as paper, alpaca and organic cotton. The projects have great appeal and will brighten up your home. You can crochet among other things, a dreamcatcher, paper flower charms, a rose cushion and more. Some of the items can also be used as colourful wall hangings. Lamb explains how to get started, pattern abbreviations and symbols and techniques.

The charts use the standard UK and US terminology. There is also a list of suppliers, mainly in the UK (with websites) so you may find it difficult to source some of the materials in this country. But any good wool shop will advise you or visit the suppliers’ websites for more information.

Now that winter, with its dark, cold and rainy days, is here, perhaps it’s time to find a new hobby.

Crochet Home will help you get started, and, if you’re an expert, there are plenty of new ideas to keep you busy. And you could sell them to your friends or open a stall at a flea market.