Namibia: City Raises Water Tariffs

The Windhoek City Council has approved a decision to increase water tariffs by 5% with effect from today.

The decision was taken at last week's council meeting.

According to the council agenda book submitted at the meeting, the municipality will increase tariffs from N$21,30 per cubic metre to N$22,35 per cubic metre.

This is being done to recover direct and indirect costs associated with the provision of water and other relevant services to residents.

The book shows that the Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater) - from which the municipality gets most of its water - has also increased the tariff for bulk water by 5%.

A number of factors, such as the cost of the bulk purchase increasing, inflation of goods and services, current economic conditions, fuel price increases, outstanding debts and additional costs to treat water were taken into consideration before the decision was made.

The new tariff structure, according to the council, will change, depending on the different severity levels of drought.

In addition to the new tariff, the municipality has also introduced a host of water-savings initiatives effective today to save up to 15% of normal water consumption during the current financial year.

The Namibian reported in May that the total weekly consumption in the city will be reduced from 539 000 cubic metres to 465 000 cubic metres, from this month.

The municipality declared in May [2019] that the water situation has moved from category C (scarcity) to category D, which is a more severe water scarcity or drought.

The tariffs will remain the same for all categories, but the limits after which residents incur penalties are lowered with each new category.

"It should be noted that the drought tariffs were introduced to control the usage of water in these difficult times to preserve the scare resource," the council book states.

The municipality's strategic executive responsible for infrastructure, water and technical services, Ludwig Narib said the tariffs for the current drought were introduced to discourage excessive water consumption.

The tariffs were also meant to ensure that high-end users are discouraged from continuously using a lot of water, he added.

The new tariffs are different under the current category D of severe water scarcity.

People who consume up to 6 kilolitres per day will be charged N$22,35 per cubic metre, and those using from 6 kilolitres to 25 kilolitres per day will pay N$34,64 per cu/m.

Those who consume from 25 kilolitres to 30 kilolitres per day will pay N$70 per cu/m.

People using more than 30 kilolitres per day will be charged from N$138 per cu/m upwards, depending on consumption.

The council states that each consumer will also pay different basic charges, whether water was consumed or not.

The basic charges are determined according to the diameter of the meter inlet.

The fixed tariffs for domestic consumers range from N$45,15 for a 15 millimetre inlet to N$6 665 for an 80 mm inlet.

Those with inlets bigger than 80 mm will pay N$16 272.

For non-domestic use, the compulsory charges range from N$52 for a 15 mm diameter inlet to N$7 665 for an 80 mm diameter inlet.

Consumers with inlets larger than 80 mm diameter will be charged a compulsory tariff of N$18 713.

Windhoek councillors, including Swapo's Ian Subasubani, Ananias Niizimba and Popular Democratic Movement's Ignatius Semba expressed concern that the municipality has not yet addressed several challenges with regards to the system used to charge residents for water consumption.

"What was considered to arrive at the increase? How do we arrive at these figures?" Subasubani asked.

Niizimba and Semba asked whether the municipality has introduced mechanisms to ensure that "each and every resident is charged according to what they have used".

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