Dire water situation
The amended water restrictions proposed and accepted by the council’s mayoral committee at its meeting in July reported last by Knysna-Plett Herald, was one of the items that served before council at the recent ordinary council meeting, held on August 11.
The proposed amendments recommended were not passed, as the municipal manager (MM) pointed out that tariffs cannot be amended in this fashion. In terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), tariffs form part of the annual budget and may therefore only be amended by means of an adjustment budget, of which there is generally one a year. However, the resolution passed was that the report be noted, that aggressive water demand management be implemented urgently, that the committee be kept abreast of progress in this regard and that they monitor the current situation.
Any movement between existing water restriction levels can only be approved by the mayor in conjunction with the MM, portfolio councillor and director of technical services.
The current water restrictions, at level 3 with stage 2 drought tariff, will thus remain in force. In accordance with the prevailing tariffs as contained in the budget’s medium term revenue and expenses framework (MTREF), the stage 2 drought tariff is described as a surcharge of 75% of the approved water consumption tariff for consumption over 20kl per month per household if the Akkerkloof dam has 40% capacity or the Knysna river flow drops to 200 litres per second.
Should the storage capacity reduce to between 21% and 30% with a water supply of between 15 and 21 days, then level 4 restrictions may be implemented, which will introduce water shedding and the stage 3 drought tariff.
In terms of the stage 3 drought tariff, an additional 100% of the approved water tariff will be applied to consumption over 20kl per month only if Akkerkloof dam is at 30% or the river flow is at 200 litres per second.
As is known, the Knysna River has stopped flowing completely on several occasions lately.