Register your tank or pay the price, says water dept

2019-04-01 10:03
Rainwater tank levy.

Rainwater tank levy.

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Register your water tank now, or face the consequences.

The Department of Water Conservation at national government has poured cold water on people’s attempts to save money by cutting back on their consumption of municipal water.

In a shock move the department issued a statement yon Sunday in which they call for a levy to be introduced on all homes using tanks to collect rainwater run-off, effective from today, April 1.

The head of department, Ngiyadlala Nje, is quoted in the statement. Nje says that with revenues falling at municipalities because of water losses due to leaks in their systems and the fact that rain­water harvesting cuts into their profits, there is a need to urgently bolster municipal coffers from other sources.

“Municipalities are suffering right now. They don’t have enough funds coming in. When people look around their city and say the services are poor, they blame the municipality. But how can you blame the municipality when the funds coming in are not sufficient to do everything?” said Nje in an interview with The Witness.

“With the extra funds, the municipalities can cut the grass and clean up and everyone will be happy. Everyone must join hands with us to make the country better.”

Residents have been given a deadline of the end of the month to register their tanks.

The registration fee will be pegged at R100 per tank per 1 000 litres stored each month. The fee applies to carrying capacity, not the amount of rainwater in the tank. “So for instance, if a resident has two tanks, one of 1 000 litres and another of 2 000 litres, they will pay R300 per month,” said Nje.

Those who fail to register their tanks have been threatened with large penalties. “We will be checking properties with drone cameras in time to come, so people must not try and cheat the system,” said Nje.

A Bisley resident, who asked not to be named, said he owned three tanks for harvesting rainwater run-off from his roof. “I use it to top up my pool, water the garden, wash my cars and for flushing the toilets. This has saved me a lot of money. When I installed the tanks during water shortages in the drought, I thought I was doing the responsible thing. Now I’m going to be penalised for it. It’s outrageous. Does rainwater belong to the government?”

However, another resident disagreed, saying the levy was a small price to pay to help the City get its finances in order.

The news of the rainwater levy comes on the back of a proposal by the energy regulator, Nersa, to get people to register every solar electricity panel and back-up power generator they own with the government. Last year hundreds of people flooded Nersa with objections to the initiative. 

How to register your tank

According to the department, residents should first calculate their tank’s capacity or volume using the equation p D² H / 4, where “D” is the diameter of the tank and H is the full level of the tank to the bottom of the tank.

“Firstly, measure the tank around the girth and divide this measurement by p to calculate the diameter of the tank, then measure the height and apply the calculation volume = p D² H / 4,” said Nje.

All dimensions are measured and applied in metres. Volume is in cubic metres and one cubic metre is equal to 1 000 litres of water. “It’s easy,” said Nje.

This is said to be necessary to ensure manufacturers were not “taking a chance” with the capacity figures.

Then send an e-mail to register your tank. You must include your full name, erf number, address, City billing account number and phone number. Send the e-mails to Loof.Lirpa@waterconservation.gov.za with the heading “Tank Prank”.

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