The World Bank initiated Water Reform programme will be completed in 2014 when Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) will take the entire role of all water and water supply service delivery to the whole country, a statement from WUC released this week has revealed.
The National Water Master Plan Review, which was completed in 2006 recommended a major restructuring of the water sector which included, among others, the separation of water resources management from water service delivery.
Among the suppliers that existed in the country, Water Utilities Corporation ÔÇô a government parastatal which was responsible for supply of water in urban areas only was preferred and tasked with the takeover of the entire country against the Department of Water Affairs and District councils.
The Water Affairs Department will thus become responsible for water resources planning and management which will encompass the construction of dams.
In their statement, WUC says it will takeover all potable water services in the country in three years and all waste water services in the next five years, effective May 2009.
According to the statement a total of 52 rural villages have already been taken over.
However there has been apprehension among consumers that WUC will soon charge them like they have been charging in urban areas, which was slightly more than in rural areas but WUC has played down that element.
“The tariffs in the villages taken over will not change immediately as a result of water sector reforms, if any changes do occur, these will not be directly linked to the reforms. The Water Utilities Corporation is a parastatal organisation and, therefore, there is a variation between the way it operates and the Department of Water Affairs,” the statement says.
Unlike the Department of Water Affairs and District Councils, WUC is required by law to charge Value Added Tax (VAT) for services rendered, which is going to be an added amount on the consumer’s monthly bills. The same has also brought to the front issues of employment from the departments that are being taken over.
WUC says it will take over some of the employees from the affected departments using their own criteria therefore it was not automatic that the employees would be taken over as they were but according to the needs of the parastatal. The government says the employees may be re-deployed within the existing departments or to any other government department.