NELSON Mandela Bay’s heaviest water users should expect a visit from Mayor Nqaba Bhanga this week, who will be demanding to know why they’re using so much of this increasingly scarce, and expensive, resource.
It’s part of the municipality’s efforts to stave off the worst effects of the ongoing drought in the Eastern Cape province.
“We are fast heading towards a dry July, and our consumption has unfortunately remained the same. This is despite the various interventions we have launched to reduce water losses, augment water supply and reduce consumption,” Bhanga said on Monday, adding that the metro’s combined dam levels have dropped further and stand at a “dire” 12.09 %.
“During this week, I will be visiting a few of our top 100 water users. These users have all been notified of their water usage and warned to reduce their consumption urgently. All users are urged to use water sparingly and reduce consumption. It is up to all of us to beat a dry July.”
And it’s not just Bay water hogs who can expect to hear from the mayor. He’s also approaching President Cyril Ramaphosa and other government leaders to ask why a drought disaster will not be declared in the Metro.
“I will be writing to the President, Minister of COGTA and the Premier to query the decision to turn down our Drought Disaster Declaration, as we believe that this declaration will unlock some of the logistical challenges currently experienced,” Bhanga said.
On the positive side, he said metro repair crews had been able to fix over 1000 water leaks over the past week and hoped to improve on this number each subsequent week.
“I am also pleased to announce that construction has commenced on the pipeline from Bloemendal, which will direct water to Kwanobuhle from the Nooitgedagt Water Scheme. Kwanobuhle receives its water solely from the Kouga Dam and is one of the first areas in the metro to run dry by July if we do not reduce water consumption.”
He said the municipality’s bilateral engagements with business continues. “We thank the private sector for their inputs and offers of assistance, which will help repair water leaks at schools and promote sustainable water use at private sector properties.”
Turning to the newly introduced tariff C charges for water, Bhanga acknowledged that “no one likes the idea of paying increased tariffs for anything, but this is a necessary measure which we had to take in the current dire circumstances”.
He said both National Treasury and the National Department of Water and Sanitation had repeatedly expressed concern that these tariffs were not already implemented.
“Registered ATTP consumers will not be affected by these changes if they remain within their 8kl limit. The intention being to encourage a reduction in water usage. We thank those residents who are already playing their part and have reduced their water consumption – we urge those residents and businesses who have not yet adjusted their water usage behaviour to do so with haste, before it is too late, and our water runs out.”
Part C of the charges and tariffs:
- Institutional and government departments:
- Commercial/ industrial: