NMB residents hit with harsh water restrictions and tariffs, Municipality still quiet about water crisis plan

19 Aug 2020 in Press Statements

The most recent water restrictions and punitive water tariff increases published by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, clearly highlights that the Metro has no comprehensive plan to mitigate the current water crisis in the City.

The Municipality and the ANC-led coalition of corruption are hypocrites. The Metro must first remove the beam from its own eye and fix the water leaks and water-infrastructure before punishing residents for its failure to manage the City’s water.

Instead of tackling the devastating water losses due to poor infrastructure maintenance, the Municipality’s only plan seems to be to go after its already hard-pressed residents. Some of the new restrictions include:

  • All domestic customers will have a flow meter restrictor installed to reduce the water pressure to reduce losses;
  • All domestic customers to limit water usage to 50 litres per person per day or 15 kilolitres per month for households;
  • All domestic customers, with excessive use, will have a flow meter restrictor installed to limit usage to 15 kilolitres per month; and
  • For Non-Assistance to the Poor (ATTP) users, notices to all consumers using above 15 kilolitres per month will be served immediately and restrictors will be installed thereafter, at the cost of the customer.

Residents are already paying high rates for their water consumption, as set out in Part B of the tariff structure, but will soon have to pay even more. The DA has it on good authority that the Metro will soon be progressing to even higher punitive tariffs, as set out in Part C.

The DA has on numerous occasions requested a drought mitigation plan from the Municipality, but to no avail.

On 21 July 2020, I wrote to the self-styled “interim” Mayor, Cllr Thsonono Buyeye, requesting him to deliver a report on the Metro’s plan of action for when supply dams run dry. Cllr Buyeye has deemed it fit not to respond to my letter.

I submitted a request on 7 August 2020, to debate the matter in Council as a matter of public importance, but have received no feedback, to date.

The combined levels of the Metro’s main supply dams have dropped below 17% and Day Zero is now imminent. Due to low dam levels, the western suburbs of the Metro have already experienced significant water interruptions. Some areas have to make do without water for days on end.

High-lying and peri-urban areas are at significant risk of running dry if steps are not taken, and this is a major cause for concern. Peri-urban areas in the western suburbs – such as Greenbushes and St Albans – regularly go without water for days.

Additionally, at full capacity, Nooitgedacht Low Level Water Scheme can only provide 210 megalitres of water per day to the Metro. The City’s daily water consumption currently stands at almost 300 megalitres per day.  If no water can be extracted from our dams, demand will outstrip supply.

The DA will not stand idly by while the Municipality’s incompetence places further financial burdens on our residents.

We can fix this mess – we have done it before, and we can do it again. Together we can move Nelson Mandela Bay forward again.