BY AMOS BATISAYI
THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has started installing prepaid water meters in Gokwe in a project which will see 1 000 households using the prepaid billing system.
This was revealed by Zinwa Sanyati catchment area spokesperson Obert Muchena, who told Southern Eye that some of the suburbs that would get prepaid meters included Green Valley, Cheziya, and Sesame 1 and 2.
Zinwa is owed over $54 million by various clients in Gokwe. The introduction of prepaid meters is expected to control water consumption in the Midlands town and curb accumulation of debts.
“We are installing prepaid meters in phases. We have earmarked to install 1 000 meters during the first phase, with 600 of those having already been installed,” Muchena said.
“The prepaid meters are being installed free of charge to all clients except for government departments. Zinwa will not leave anyone behind, and those in arrears will have a percentage of their payments for prepaid water going towards servicing their debts.”
Gokwe residents, who spoke to Southern Eye, expressed mixed feelings over the prepaid water system.
“I hope the installation of prepaid meters in Gokwe is going to resolve the perennial water challenges that we have faced over the years in the town. Pre-paid water should result in the improvement of water supplies in Gokwe,” a resident Nomater Moyo said.
In the past, Gokwe residents accused Zinwa of relying on estimates, which resulted in them getting disputed bills.
“We have been prejudiced by Zinwa through estimated water bills, and they have been over-charging us. We welcome installation of prepaid water meters,” another resident Klein Notho said.
Critics have, however, said pre-paid water meters would deny the poor access to the precious liquid.
Zinwa said after installing the prepaid meters, beneficiaries would not pay for the first 1 000 litres.