BY REX MPHISA
BEITBRIDGE residents have rejected plans by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) to install a bulk pre-paid water meter at the town’s main supply line.
Zinwa sells bulk water to the municipality which then sells treated water to the more than 70 000 residents.
But residents said the proposed bulk meter water system was insensitive as it would make water unaffordable to poor households.
The Urban Residents Association and Beitbridge Progressive Residents Associations and Rate Payers Development Trust delivered a protest note to Zinwa offices.
They also threatened to approach the High Court for an order barring Zinwa from installing a bulk water meter if their petition is ignored.
In a petition copied to The Office of the President, Zanu PF legislator Albert Nguluvhe, senator Tambudzani Mohadi, Beitbridge municipality and mayor Munyaradzi Chitsunge, the residents said: “We register our strong disagreement with your stated intention to activate with immediate effect the bulk prepaid water meters as per your letter to the Municipality of Beitbridge dated December 24 2021.”
The residents said, if implemented, the proposal would be a “blatant violation of their unalienable right to safe, clean and portable drinking water as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe”.
“It will penalise and greatly inconvenience compliant residents and ratepayers since bulk water meters will lump them into the same group with non-compliant residents and it will undermine public health because non-availability of water will cause open defecation which greatly increases the risk of water borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.”
Zinwa and the municipality have had a long running dispute over water management in the border town. On several occasions, Zinwa has cut water supplies to the council over arrears.
The municipality has insisted that it be allowed to take charge of its water affairs.
Beitbridge town owes Zinwa more than $20 million for bulk water supplies.
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