Water levy implemented by Umgeni

2016-09-21 06:00
PHOTO: sourced

PHOTO: sourced

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MSUNDUZI residents are paying more for less water as from 1 September in order to help Umgeni Water further manage the crippling effects the prolonged drought is causing. The drought levy was approved by the minister of water and sanitation in July and has only now been implemented.

According to Umgeni Water the need to introduce the levy is based on the fact that more water needs to be conserved in order to supply the six municipalities which it will feed in the coming months. The water system has been severely affected by the drought and has not received sufficient rainfall in a 30-month period.

“This has resulted in Midmar Dam and Albert Falls Dam remaining consistently at below 50% and 30% respectively. These dams supply all of uMgungundlovu District, Pietermaritzburg and about 80% of eThekwini. The amount of water in them is not sufficient to meet full demand which has resulted in Umgeni Water having to reduce potable water production by 15% at its water treatment plants within the Mgeni system and the introduction of mandatory water restrictions of 15%.

“These measures were introduced to prevent possible failure of Midmar and Albert Falls dams and ensure that the water currently available lasts until the drought breaks,” said Shami Harichunder, Corporate Stakeholder Manager at Umgeni Water.

He said that the idea behind the water levy is to ensure a curtailment of water usage resulting in more water being saved thus enabling Umgeni to supply water in the months to come. The factor that determines the rand amount charged is the volume of water used.

“Umgeni Water wants to create increased awareness that water is a finite resource and, therefore, encourages the sparing use of it and the adoption of water conservation as an every-day activity.”

Following the announcement of the water levy Harichunder said that Ungeni have received and noted correspondence from eThekwini Metro and Msunduzi Local Municipality.

As part of its commitment to remain customer-focused and continue to maintain cordial relations, Umgeni Water has regular engagements with its customers and other stakeholders through various forums where the correspondence from eThekwini Metro and Msunduzi Local Municipality will be discussed.

Harichunder said that water usage and the state of dams are monitored by the Joint Operations Committee (JOC) comprising Umgeni Water regional managers, Umgeni Water customers, Department of Water and Sanitation and Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. Based on water resource availability, conclusions made by the JOC motivate for Gazetting either an increase or easing of restrictions.

“The water resource situation in the Mgeni system, on which an estimated four million consumers are dependent for water, has unfortunately not changed. The introduction of a drought levy, approved by the minister of water and sanitation, is an additional measure to manage water resources and also contribute to the resiliency of this resource during the drought.

“Failure of major dams, among them Midmar and Albert Falls, will have serious implications for domestic users of water and the economy. It is a risk Umgeni Water cannot and will not take, therefore, a levy as a catalyst for curtailment of water use is highly effective,” said Harichunder.

SIDEBAR

The levy is based on water volumes and will result in increasing stepped tariff, with minimum of 0,35 cents per kilolitre for the first 5% restriction of water volume, 0,64 cents for 10% restriction of water volume, 0,95 cents for 15% restriction of water volume, R1,31 for 20% restriction of water volume and R1,84 for 30% restriction of water volume.

SIDEBAR

The primary factor to determine rand amount to be charged as a levy is based on volumes consumed by customers. What this translates into in the end is that the less the customer uses, the less the rand value of the levy.

The levy is based on water volumes and will result in increasing stepped tariff, with minimum of 0,35 cents per kilolitre for the first 5% restriction of water volume, 0,64 cents for 10% restriction of water volume, 0,95 cents for 15% restriction of water volume, R1,31 for 20% restriction of water volume and R1,84 for 30% restriction of water volume.

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