NMB set for higher water tariffs after warning by minister

NMBM acting city manager Johann Mettler Picture: EUGENE COETZEE
NMBM acting city manager Johann Mettler
Picture: EUGENE COETZEE

Fines and higher tariffs are on the cards in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro if water wastage continues.

This comes after Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane told municipal officials this week that not enough was being done to save water.

Acting city manager Johann Mettler said yesterday that although soft restrictions were already in place, they were not yielding results.

“We received information informally from the national department that we will be directed to go to the next level of restrictions,” Mettler said.

The introduction of punitive tariffs and fines were strong possibilities, but the council would have to approve these.

Mettler said the metro was waiting for formal communication from Mokonyane.

Millions of rands are lost by the metro every month due to water losses.

In September, water losses accounted for 43.88% of the city’s total water usage.

This included households not paying and wastage caused by leaks and burst pipes.

Infrastructure and engineering committee political head Annette Lovemore said the directive from the national department would mean that those who wasted water would be fined.

“You will have to pay money out of your pocket,” she said.

“It is a serious issue – it means we will have to issue fines for water wastage. “One of the options will also be to increase tariffs drastically, meaning if you use more, you will pay more.”

“Another option we will certainly consider is issuing fines for water wastage.”

The announcement comes as Bay and Cape Town metro officials met to discuss strategies in dealing with water losses.

Lovemore said the workshop at the Port Elizabeth City Hall had been held to find ways to curb such losses.

“We have a serious problem in this city as our non-revenue water stands at over 40%,” she said.

“The City of Cape Town was able to reduce its water losses in 10 years from 44% to 14%, which is . . . acceptable.” Mokonyane’s spokesman, Mlimandlela Ndamase, could not confirm yesterday if the minister would issue a formal directive to the metro.

“We will check on their current status,” he said.

“But the five dams serving the metro this week have decreased to 68.3%. “They were at 100% at the same time last year.”

Ndamase said although water restrictions across the country were due to the ongoing drought, the city’s water woes were driven by its high demand.

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