Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality mulling higher water tariffs

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Nelson Mandela Bay ratepayers could be hit hard in the pocket as higher water tariffs are on the cards if dam levels continue to drop.

This is according to the city’s infrastructure and engineering executive director, Dr Walter Shaidi.

With main supply dam levels dipping below 30% last week, the municipality has appealed to residents to assist in reducing water consumption to at least 250 megalitres (Ml) per day for the city.

The last time the combined level sank below 30% was in October 2017.

Consumption levels are at an alarming 290Ml per day for the city.

“The curtailment of consumption levels is crucial since further punitive tariffs were implemented when our dam levels reached 20% in the past,” he said.

“This predicament is staring us in the face with average dam levels at 29.4%.

“These punitive charges are implemented during water shortage emergencies to ensure that we stretch our resources as far as possible.”

Residents are charged R14,78 for the first 0.4 kilolitres per day (kl/d), with the next 0.4 kl/d costing R18,53, then the next 0.8 kl/d costing R41,20 followed by 1.0kl/d costing R49.94.

Any additional kilolitres are charged at R124,85.

But new tariffs will see residents forking out R18,53 for up to 0.4kl/d, with the next 0.3kl/d costing R37,46 and the next 0.8 kl/d costing R74,91.

Any additional kilolitres are charged at R249,70.

Shaidi said a drier than normal period was expected until May.

“This is especially worrisome as per the predictions by the SA Weather Service.”

Though the dams are a key component of the Bay’s water supply, 60% comes from the Nooitgedacht works in Addo, which receives its supply from the Orange River via the Gariep Dam, 400km of canals and tunnels and then the Scheepersvlakte Dam.

“We have been proactive over the years to supplement our water supply with the phased implementation of the Nooitgedacht Water Treatment Works, the improvement of the bulk water transfer infrastructure with the completion of the Motherwell and Standford Road booster pump stations and the drilling of boreholes among others.

“Our 10-year business plan has been approved with a specific focus on reducing non-revenue water, which means the municipality will be able to gain greater value from this treasured resource,” Shaidi said.

The completion of phases one and two of the Nooitgedacht Water Treatment Works increased the water treatment capacity from 90Ml per day to 140Ml, with construction of phase three of the works in progress.

The third phase is expected to be completed by August 2021.

“The water treatment capacity of the Nooitgedacht Water Treatment Works will be improved to 210Ml per day.

“Construction at the Loerie Water Treatment Works is also in progress,” Shaidi said.

Meanwhile, notice boards reflecting consumption in different areas of the Bay have not been updated and water conservation notices in the media have practically evaporated.

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