The government has warned that South African businesses and households should prepare to pay up to 16.5% more for water from next year.

Rapport reported that the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation has started with its consultation process on the 16.5% increase in water prices.

This increase, however, does not include municipal price increases – which mean that people may face an even larger overall increase than the planned 16.5%.

Anil Singh, deputy director-general for regulations and compliance at the department, told Rapport that the proposed increases will be handed to the minister for approval.

This will be followed by a parliamentary process in the relevant committees regarding the water price increases, with a final tariff increase announcement expected before 15 March 2020.

Increased water and electricity prices

South Africans are already buckling under the pressure of increased water and electricity prices over the past few years.

Two months ago, the City of Joburg increased the price of water by 9.9% and hiked electricity prices by 13%.

Other municipalities across the country have done the same, and combined with higher fuel prices many South Africans are struggling to make ends meet.

In April it was revealed that cash-strapped South Africans have been using less electricity because of the higher electricity prices.

The higher water prices, which are well above inflation, may put further pressure on businesses and consumers.

The South African Local Government Association (Salga) previously warned that the electricity and water price hikes are high and above the cost of living.

This, Salga said, will have a negative impact on struggling small and big businesses and hurt South African citizens.