Water costs could drop
● Good news for consumers, writes Siyamtanda Capa
The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality is expected to deliver some good news on Monday as it mulls over adjusting the punitive water tariffs following the recent good rains.
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki revealed on Thursday that assessments were under way to determine an “appropriate” water tariff.
Infrastructure and engineering political head Andile Lungisa said an announcement on the water tariff would be made on Monday through the office of mayor Mongameli Bobani.
“We are going to make an announcement on a way forward with the tariff on Monday – all I can say is that the announcement will put a smile on ratepayers’ faces,” Lungisa said.
Currently the metro is on Tariff C – introduced as a result of the drought.
The punitive tariff has had a negative impact on the municipality’s revenue collection rate, which is at 93%.
Residents, business and government departments owed the municipality a total of R855m in July for water alone.
This is a decrease from the R882m debt owed to the city in June.
“The determination of a water tariff will include, among others, the dam levels, weather pattern, evaporation and legal abstraction limits that are set by the national department of water,” Mniki said.
“[We] will then assess all the above and make a practical decision on the tariffs.”
Mniki said a report would be compiled and presented to the city’s political leadership through council processes.
South African Weather Service spokesman Garth Sampson has warned residents not to get excited about the recent rains.
Sampson said no “real rain” was expected over the next 10 days.
“There is no real rain expected in the near future,” he said.
Sampson revealed that the seasonal forecast was also for a below-normal rainfall for the period up to December.
He said the recent rain was a result of a cut-off low in the upper atmosphere which caused heavy rains. Chances of this happening again later in the year were very low.
“Cut-off lows most frequently occur between March and September. So, as a rule of thumb, we will have to wait until next year [from March onwards] for any good chance of a similar event,” he said.
Sampson said severe thunderstorms were a possibility.
However, such storms would only give about 20 or 30mm of rain, while the catchment areas at the dams needed above 50mm of rain in 24 hours for there to be a significant difference in dam levels.
“[The heavy rains recently] were a relatively rare event, as everything fell into place at the right time and the right place.
“The rain fell in the exact spot where it is most needed [in the the catchment area].
“As cut-off lows are not a regular feature, we were lucky that it happened in the right spot. The chances of that happening again shortly are relatively low.”
“To win the lotto two weeks in a row doesn’t happen.
“We must not get excited with the little bit of rain that we have had at the moment. Let’s conserve this water because we don’t know when the next big rain is going to come,” Sampson said.
This week, during a visit to two Bay dams, water and sanitation director Barry Martin said he did not believe water restrictions should be relaxed.
Martin said such a move would send a poor message from a water management point of view.
By Friday, dam levels had risen significantly, with a total combined average of 47.20%.
Two of the larger dams – Kouga and Impofu – were at 42.6% and 32.5% respectively.
TheChurchill Dam recorded the most water at 100% on Friday morning and Groendal recorded 55%.
SOME RELIEF: The Kromme Dam (old Churchill Dam) was almost at capacity recently