Wa­ter costs could drop

● Good news for con­sumers, writes Siyam­tanda Capa

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - News -

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%.

Pho­to­graph: EU­GENE COET­ZEE

SOME RE­LIEF: The Kromme Dam (old Churchill Dam) was al­most at ca­pac­ity re­cently

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