Impact of a crippling drought set to hit Bay consumers hard
The full impact of the drought is about to hit the pockets of every resident and business in Nelson Mandela Bay hard, with massive tariff hikes set to kick in from Monday. This will see municipal bills for residents increase by at least a couple of hundred rand more every month.
The municipality will move to Part C of the water tariffs structure on Monday as the combined average dam levels dropped to below 40% yesterday.
Effectively, consumers will pay R14.57 for the first 0.5kl/d used, R29.46 for the next 0.3kl/d used, R58.92 for the next 0.8kl/d and more than R196.41 for any more kilolitres used in a day.
This means that people will pay more for their water regardless of how much they use.
Commercial and industrial tariffs will be increased from R12.69/kl to R16.54.
Nelson Mandela Bay city manager Johann Mettler said the municipality had also now started the process of applying to the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation to have the metro declared a disaster area.
He said while the municipality would be advertising the increased tariffs in the media in the upcoming week, council had already adopted a resolution to impose the increased tariffs immediately after dam levels dropped below 40%.
“It will definitely come into effect and we are in the process of implementing those increased rates now. However, we must advertise so people will know what the increased rates are,” Mettler said.
Water used from Monday onwards will be billed in terms of Part C of the tariff structure.
Residents expressed frustration and disappointment yesterday when told about the new tariffs from Monday.
Phindile Hojana, 56, of New Brighton, said he was dreading Monday as he would not be able to cope with any increase.
“I pay R350 a month and now this amount will go up. I have a family to take care of and these expenses will really hurt our pockets,” he said.
Mabel Gaasmeni, 58, of Motherwell, said: “I pay R1 000 [altogether] on my municipal bill. I have tried by all means to save water.”
Mike Haywood, 60, of Summerstrand, said residents would now have to think of innovative ways of cutting down on water.
“This issue is always going to affect us – it won’t change anytime soon. If anything, it will worsen. We need to make our own ways of cutting down on water. I pay below the threshold. We have a limited usage but it’s something we’re going to have to deal with,” Haywood said.
Nomanesi Mgade of South End, said she felt stuck with a water bill that kept on rising.
“We don’t feel good about this, unfortunately we don’t have an alternative. I don’t even know how much I have to pay any more. I just get my statement and I always see a huge difference.”
Oyama Vanto, 36, of Westering said those living below the poverty line would definitely feel the hike.
“I pay about R400 a month and it is high. What makes this worse is that everything else is going up, from petrol to food and with that combined it definitely makes one worried,” Vanto said.
While residents move to Part C, commercial and industrial consumers will move to Part B, according to Nelson Mandela Bay Metro mayoral committee member for infrastructure and engineering Annette Lovemore.
Under Part A for the consumption of water for commercial and industrial premises, the tariff was R12.69/kl and now under Part B it is R16.54, an increase of R3.85.
But despite the introduction of new tariffs from Monday, water-intensive businesses in the city said they did not anticipate a significant increase to the prices of their goods as a result of the increased tariffs.
Dean de Coning, manager of Walmer hairstylists Nouvo, said the business made use of rainwater tanks and therefore was not completely reliant on municipal water.
He said the business had been making use of water from its own tanks for nearly four years.
“We do not really expect to increase our prices,” he said.
JP van Zyl, manager of 082CarWash at Baywest Mall, said for the past eight months the business had been using rainwater collected from the shopping centre’s roof which is then deposited into various tanks.
“We do not believe we will be impacted by the increased tariffs at all. Our owner has taken steps to ensure we will not be affected by the ongoing drought.”
Chrisjan Joubert, mine manager at Marina Salt in Swartkops, said the company made use of borehole water for domestic use and pumped sea water into its dams for salt production.
“We are also discussing putting up a desalination plant at our premises with that fresh water then being pumped to the municipality,” he said.
For the municipality’s Assistance to the Poor and Rebates programme in Part B residents were paying a flat R11.63/kl and for Part C this rises to R14.57, an increase of R2.94/kl. The programme offers the first 8kl free. The price of water delivered through stand pipes, a common feature in some of the poorest areas, increases from R23.29/kl to R31.38, an increase of R8.09/kl.
The price of water for institutions such as municipal and government departments does not increase from what it was in Section B at R16.66/kl.
The price of treated water for the irrigation of sports grounds also stays the same at R16.66/kl.