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Residents face stiff water bills

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"During the periods of restriction, residents will also be paying more for increased water usage"

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CITY residents could soon be paying massive water bills during periods of crisis.

According to the Sol Plaatje City Council’s 2019/20 budget, which was tabled last week, the municipality has approved a policy dealing with water restrictions in times of drought and pronouncements by the Minister of Water and Sanitation will be made in this regard.

According to the proposed tariffs set out in the budget, there will be a total of five stages.

Stage one is aimed at intending to enforce “sensible use of water and to prevent inefficient water use practices”. During this stage, non-essential water use will be reduced by 20%.

“These restrictions are meant to minimise unnecessary water consumption during peak daily demand periods, but to have little impact on amenity of community and residential assets.”

Stage two restrictions are designed to reduce non-essential water use by 40% of average consumption. Non-essential residential and commercial use is limited to alternative days, and watering of lawns and filling of swimming pools is banned.

Stage three will see the reduction of non-essential use by 70% of average consumption. Watering of residential, commercial and public gardens is limited to levels intended to prevent long-term vegetation damage. Normal watering of lawns is banned.

Stage four only allows the consumption of water for essential public health purposes. All non-essential uses are banned.

During stage five, water restrictions are imposed to effect emergency water conservation (emergency management). No non-essential water use is permitted at any time during the restriction. Only essential domestic, industrial and commercial use may be permitted under strict monitoring.

During the periods of restriction, residents will also be paying more for increased water usage.

During level five emergency, for example, water usage above 60Kl will be charged at the premium rate of R68.11 per Kl. By comparison 0-6Kl of water will be R6.93 per Kl.

At level five, 7-20Kl of water will cost R53.55 and 21-40kl will be R63.74.

Builders will be charged R75.39 per Kl of water, while industries will be charge R65.56.

The Sol Plaatje Municipality introduced water restrictions in the city in January this year when the demand for water outstripped the municipality’s ability to supply water, resulting in the levels at the Newton Reservoir dropping to critical proportions.

Since then, city residents have experienced nightly shutdowns of water on an almost continuous basis.

At the time, the municipality had no real clout to enforce the restrictions. This, however, is expected to change once the policy is introduced as residents will face stiff water bills if they do not cut their usage.