Ricochet News

Buffalo City Metro to introduce punitive tariffs if rain does not fall soon

By Yolanda Palezweni - Sep 20, 2017
Buffalo City Metro to introduce punitive tariffs if rain does not fall soon

The Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM) on Wednesday warned residents that if there are no significant rain falls in the next few weeks, the area faces a major water crisis.

According to the BCMM spokesperson, Samkelo Ngwenya, on the 28th of June 2017, Council took a resolution to implement the first stages of water restrictions as per the Metro’s Dam Operating Rules.

Ngwenya added that, unfortunately, the recent rains have done nothing to save the situation and the City is now predicting an imminent drought situation.

“Consequently, the Wriggleswade dam, which is the backup dam for the City, has its levels declining at a rate of 1.6% per week, which means the municipality would be in the drought situation from the end of October 2017 if the rainfall does not materialise in the month of September and October 2017,” he described.

He added that the Wriggleswade dam was activated after the City’s main dam - the Bridle Drift dam, and the Nahoon dam, which supplies water to East London, Mdantsane and surrounding areas, recorded levels below 40%.

According to Ngwenya, the Department of Water and Sanitation started to release raw water from Wriggleswade dam from the 1st of June 2017 as per the dam operating rules for the Amathole System in order to supplement raw water supply to Bridle Drift and Nahoon dams.

“It is worth noting that there are serious financial implications that the City is incurring with this exercise,” he said.

“This will therefore necessitate the implementation of the next stage of water restrictions and punitive tariffs, which are 10%, water restrictions with punitive tariffs 1A.”

He further said that the municipality has been engaged in a number of activities trying to raise consumer awareness about the impending water crisis through messaging on various platforms including all account statements, social media and key buildings.

“Other initiatives included the Pipe Replacement and the Water Meter Replacement programmes, new meter installations, active leakage control for water leak investigations and repairs of reported municipal water leaks,” Ngwenya said.

He added that none of these have influenced a behavioural change on how our people react to the usage of water.

“Ideally what we all want is rain, and not just any rain, but a consistent massive rain hence we are calling for our people to engage in prayers that can bring about rain in Buffalo City.”

Ngwenya said that the BCMM Executive Mayor, Xola Pakati, will also be engaged in awareness and prayer sessions as this is the time for all residents to hold hands and work towards finding some solution to the impending crisis.

“It is important to note that no significant rainfall has materialised thus far, as a result the dam levels are continuing to decline, which will lead to a drought condition, which is predicted to start on the end of October 2017,” he said.

“If the situation persists, our people should gear up for the next stage of water restrictions, which is the implementation of 10% water restrictions with punitive tariffs 1A will be implemented from 01 November 2017 as previously resolved by Council.”