WATER IN SOUTH AFRICA

By Dirk Groenewald, Executive MidCity Utilities

SOUTH AFRICA IS CLASSIFIED AS A WATER-SCARCE COUNTRY.

We rank as one of the thirty driest countries in the world, with an average rainfall of about 40% less than the average annual world rainfall.

South Africa has an average annual rainfall of less than 500 mm, while that of the world is at about 850 mm.

These figures are constantly changing because of climate change associated with global warming. Disrupted rainfall patterns cause droughts, flooding, and other extreme weather conditions.

Currently, Europe is experiencing heatwaves, droughts, fire outbreaks, and ground erosion, to name but a few, certainly not uncommon to South Africans, but extremely rare for Europe.

South Africa experienced water shortages over the last few years with “day zero” looming in Gqeberha (Eastern Cape), currently covered in the media.

Apart from South Africa being a water scarce country, there are other factors that also add to the pressure on our water availability.

  • Infrastructure failures (pipes, pumps, storage, water purification plants)
  • Low or no maintenance
  • Growing population
  • Water wastage
  • Mismanagement by responsible parties
  • Pollution

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

Experience has shown us that where end users do not see, feel, or know what volume of water they are consuming, they often do not care, worry, or change their water usage behaviour.

Most Body Corporates (other Community Schemes included), has a bulk council supply water meter, measuring the total water usage / supply.

The Body Corporate (Community Scheme) pays the full water and sanitation account, which forms part of the levies raised.

As the levy amount seldom requires contributions for expenses, the water and sanitation cost of the Body Corporate is diluted in the levy.

A leaking toilet (continuously running toilet) unattended to, can run up a cost of approximately R8 500 per month at current Tshwane Municipality tariffs.

The same applies for leaking pipes, continuously flowing taps, sprinklers, geysers, and other water appliances.

End users not directly paying for their own water usage, will in most instances not care to fix or report the water related problem.

Only once the end user is metered, directly paying, or being informed of the water usage, the end user’s consumption patterns will change.

Having end users pay for their direct water usage, relieves the financial liability of the Body Corporate, and can assist in not having to raise levies in future because of water and sanitation costs. 

The total consumption of a complex often decreases with between 40 – 60% after the installation of individual water meters.

Having individual water meters also assists with balancing the water network and gives an early indication of possible water leaks in the water network.

Action can be taken to identify and fix the leaks before getting out of hand, and has substantial financial implications for the complex.

Where possible, it is advisable to install individual water meters for end users to bring then to account for their water use or abuse.

Individual water meters assist in changing water usage behaviour because of a financial implication to end users, thus saving an invaluable and essential resource – water.

For any assistance, investigations, and explanations, please contact MidCity Utilities.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How can I purchase pre-paid electricity?

By making use of one of the following:

  • MidCity Utilities App
  • MidCity Utilities Website
  • Internet Banking
  • Unipin vouchers
Where can I buy a Unipin voucher?
  • Unipin vouchers can be purchased at registered retailers, garages and other suppliers.
How do I load a Unipin voucher?
  • When providing your pre-paid meter number to the cashier, the pre-paid purchase will transfer over to the meter automatically.
  • If you do not provide your meter number to the cashier and you receive the voucher slip, you must follow the steps as set out thereon.
  • Make sure you are using the correct meter number.
Where do I get my meter number/meter serial number?
  • After registering with MidCity Utilities for pre-paid electricity, our Customer Care Personnel will SMS you your meter number.
  • When you register for the Mobile App or on our website, you will also be able to see your meter number.
  • Clients who also request to receive monthly statements, even though they are on pre-paid, will be able to see their meter number on their monthly statement.
  • Contact our Customer Care Personnel.
How do I see what my meter balance is?
  • Log in to either our Mobile App or website.
  • SMS the word Balance (space) meter number to 37823. You will receive an SMS with your meter balance and predicted zero balance date.
  • Use your keypad, if you have one.
Will I receive low balance warnings or notifications?
  • Yes. A low balance notification will be sent to the registered cell phone number that is loaded onto our system.
  • The low balance notification will be sent 48 hours before the calculated depletion date.
  • The depletion date received on the low balance notification, Mobile App or website is an estimation and depends on a client’s consumption habits and changes.
How do I know that credit has been loaded?

Mobile App or Website

  • The final step in the process on the Mobile App or website will indicate if the transaction was successful.
  • Transfer of credits to the meter can take approximately 10 minutes after the purchase is completed successfully.
  • On the Mobile App, website or SMS balance enquiry, it can take between 30 minutes to an hour to update the effective current balance after a purchase was made.

Internet Banking

  • Confirmation of transaction is provided by your banking service.
  • You will receive an SMS or email with the value of the token as well as the 20-digit code already loaded on your meter.
  • Purchases through Internet Banking can take approximately 30 minutes to transfer over to the meter.
  • On the Mobile App, website or SMS balance enquiry, it can take between 30 minutes to an hour to update the effective current balance after a purchase was made.

Unipin voucher

  • After following the process reflected on the voucher with your cell phone, you will receive confirmation and notification on your device.
  • Purchases through Unipin vouchers can take approximately 30 minutes to transfer over to the meter.
  • On the Mobile App, website or SMS balance enquiry, it can take between 30 minutes to an hour to update the effective current balance after a purchase was made.
My token is not loading. What do I do?