SAMWU Press Statement opposing Skuifraam Dam
16 July 1999
The South African Municipal Workers' Union supports the call made by the Environmental Monitoring Group, Earthlife Africa Cape Town Branch, Wildlife Environment Society of Southern Africa and the South African Rivers Association opposing the recent decision to go ahead with the Skuifraam Dam in the Franschhoek Valley.
It is SAMWU's position that there will be a drastic increase in water tariffs as a direct result of this project that will hit the poor of Cape Town, who are battling to pay for water, very very hard. The union also feels that if water is so scarce in Cape Town, then water restrictions should be imposed on the rich who regularly use thousands of litres of water for their gardens and swimming pools.
The only solution to what is according to the Department of Water Affairs and Foresty, a water crisis, is to introduce a pricing system whereby a lifeline amount of 50 litres water is given to every person every day free of charge. Any amount of water above this amount that is used should be charged according to a rising block tariff whereby the people who are really guilty of massive water wastage will pay for this.
SAMWU agrees with the environmental NGO's that before any capital intensive major dam building project is considered, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry must both introduce a water demand management programme for the entire province that will reduce the amount of water used; and look more at budgetting properly to extend and maintain existing infrastructure so that less water is lost through leaking pipes, and more delivered to the people.
For more comment, please contact Lance Veotte on 021 6971153