Municipality to supply water to 27000 people

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 11 September 2010

In an attempt to combat its water problems, Amathole District Municipality (ADM) yesterday launched a project worth R110 million to supply water to villages where dams have run dry.

The district was declared a disaster area by the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica in July last year, as levels reached a critical point. Since then, ADM has established a joint operations committee to develop a drought action plan.

ADM spokesperson Gail Pullen said: “Funding application for drought relief was made in the amount of R156 million and to date the municipality has received only R12.4 million from national Treasury in this new financial year.”

Yesterday, ADM launched its infrastructure project at Ehlobo in the Mnquma Municipality (Butterworth and surrounds), which will supply potable water to 27150 people in 38 villages.

Currently, the villages source their water from streams and springs which are subject to seasonal variations and do not provide an assured water supply. Similar projects will be launched in Amahlathi (Stutterheim and Cathcart) and Mbhashe (Dutywa and Willowvale) municipalities.

Plans by ADM to upgrade infrastructure come as various towns in the district record lower than normal dam levels. “The Butterworth and Dutywa areas have a looming water crisis as the Xilinxa Dam, which provides water to these areas, is now at 29.8percent,” said Pullen. This means only four to five weeks of water is left – unless it rains.

South African Weather Services’ Port Elizabeth-based forecaster Mandisa Manentsa said there was a 30 percent chance of rain today in the areas along the coast and adjacent areas, such as Dutywa and Butterworth, but no rainfall was expected next week.

ADM also reported that the Cathcart Dam was empty and the community now relied on borehole water. Local farmer Bruce Fletcher said the situation is bad. “There’s nothing in town and on the farms. We are praying for the big rains.”

The Bridledrift Dam, which is Buffalo City’s basic water supply, is at 19percent.

By: Xolisa Mgwatyu
Source: Dispatch Online

Water Tariff to increase 5-fold

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 Kilolitres used Punitive Tariff
R5.16 0 to 6
R5.26 7 to 10
R7.30 11 to 20
R9.47 21 to 30 R47.37
R11.89 Over 31 R59.45

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