Mokonyane: Debt owed by municipalities adversely affecting Water Dept

Water ans Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says that her department will now begin bulk water restrictions to five defaulting municipalities who have ignored their demands.

Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane. Picture: @DWS_RSA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says that the current debt owed by defaulting municipalities adversely affects the department and the future of water supply in the country.

Mokonyane has given an update on the progress made by water authorities to recover an outstanding R10.7 billion owed to them.

The minister announced last month that her department had issued notices to 30 councils to pay up before the 8th of this month.

Minister Mokonyane says that her department will now begin bulk water restrictions to five defaulting municipalities who have ignored their demands.

“The water restrictions proposed would be designed to ensure that households and citizens have access to their constitutionally guaranteed basic level of supply.”

She says they have taken these steps to prevent the rising debt crisis that would be disastrous for water provision if not resolved.

“This would translate to an annual debt increase of close to R1.5 billion annually if no action is taken urgently.”

Mokonyane says that so far, her department has recovered R300 million and anticipates the figure to rise in the coming days.

Mokonyane has once again urged South Africans to use water sparingly this festive season as the country is still gripped by a drought.

Mokonyane says the current dam levels in the country are concerning, especially in the Western Cape.

She says the levels continue to deteriorate weekly in that province and water restrictions will be increased to level 6 from January.

“The situation is still critical. Serious monitoring of the water use is necessary. We will be increasing our surveillance over the festive season, to ensure compliance of water restrictions.”

CAPE TOWN CONSUMPTION

Cape Town residents are still exceeding the daily water limit.

The city says the water dashboard revealed an alarming high consumption trend despite water saving initiatives.

As of Tuesday, dam levels stood at 34.2% down from 35.2% last week.

According to the latest consumption levels, only 37% of residents are using less than 87 litres per person per day.

This has decreased from 40% of residents last week.

The city’s Xanthea Limberg said: “We were also looking at introducing level 6 water restrictions which will be implemented by 1 January 2018, given that the national Department of Water and Sanitation has imposed further restrictions.”

The city adds these factors have moved day zero forward to 18 May 2018.

Additional reporting by Graig-Lee Smith.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)