The government plans to engage the World Bank to conduct a national tariff study to determine and recommend the appropriate water tariffs throughout the country.
Speaking to parliament last Thursday, Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Minister, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, said that if the government is to achieve a sustained development and maintenance of water resources, “it is inevitable that, from time to time, the level of tariffs be reviewed to contain costs and build a reserve for maintenance and potential contingencies”.
This revelation was part response to a question by Palapye MP, Moiseraele Goya, on when the Water Utilities Corporation and the Department of Water Affairs last increased their tariffs, whether they follow water industry trends and what measures are being put in place to avoid large tariff increase which would not be helpful to economic diversification efforts.
WUC last increased its water tariffs in November 2003 while Water Affairs did so in December 2004.
The minister said that through its membership of various water associations, such as the International Water Association, Africa Water Utility Partnership, Water Institute of Southern Africa and African Water Authorities as well as through benchmarking activities, WUC is able to stay abreast of industry trends.
“The Department of Water Affairs developed the National Water Master Plan which not only guides water planning but also advises on what is best practice in the water industry. Some of that best practice is being implemented through the ongoing water sector reforms,” Kedikilwe said.
As regards measures taken to avoid large tariff increases, the minister said those included promotion of water conservation, reduction of water wastage, water sector reforms to improve efficiencies by reducing the number of water authorities across the country.
He added that despite such measures, development of water resources is expensive.
“For example, the Dikgatlhong Dam alone is costing some P1.2 billion. There are other planned and equally expensive water development projects such as North South Carrier 2, Thune dam, Lotsane dam [and others],” the minister said.