Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) - partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems
08 February 2010
Buffalo City residents stand to pay thousands of Rands a month more in punitive water tariffs as the city’s dam supplies dry up, according to the BCM.
The new tariffs came into effect at the beginning of the month. According to estimates given by the municipality on its website, a family of four could end up paying nearly R4000 a month if using 65 kilolitres of water.
The city’s major water supply dam, the Bridle Drift Dam, is less than 40 percent full, and the BCM said it was introducing heavy new, punitive tariffs in a bid to cut down on domestic consumption.
A memorandum from the Director of Engineering Services to the acting Chief Financial Officer, dated January 21 and of which the Dispatch has a copy, highlights the new tariffs that came into effect on February 1.
The memo, however, also says that in addition to the normal tariffs, those who used more than 21kl of water a month would be charged punitive tariffs of five times the normal tariff.
|Rand per kilolitre
||0 to 6
||7 to 10
||11 to 20
||21 to 30
With the punitive tariff included, a household would pay R47.37/kl if using between 21 and 30kl of water, and R59.45/kl for more than 31kl.
According to the Buffalo City Municipality’s website a family of four living in a three-bedroom house with “several bathrooms”, a pool and a garden would probably use around 60000 to 65000 litres a month. In terms of the punitive charges, this would result in a bill of between R3657 and R3865.
A family of four living in a four-roomed house with one bathroom is likely to use between 30kl and 35kl litres a month. If the punitive tariffs are applied, their bill could top R2080.
Speaking to the Dispatch yesterday, Director of Engineering Services Nceba Ncunyana confirmed the tariffs charged as of February 1. He also said it was a precautionary measure to limit water usage to ensure the city did not run out of water.
Ncunyana said the average household in BCM used between six and 10 kilolitres of water per month, equating to a bill of between R30.96 and R51.60. “It (punitive tariffs) is not to punish people, but to limit the over-usage of water because the Bridle Drift Dam … which supplies water to Buffalo City has dropped to below 40 percent due to the scarcity of rain,” he said.
Residents, who claimed not to have been informed of the punitive tariffs, said BCM should have focused on educating the public on the water shortage and saving instead of introducing the tariffs. Continue reading Water Tariff to increase 5-fold