Gweru pushes for pre-paid water meters

Source: Gweru pushes for pre-paid water meters – NewsDay Zimbabwe

Cleopas Shiri

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
GWERU deputy mayor Cleopas Shiri has indicated that the Midlands capital will forge ahead with plans to install pre-paid water meters to deal with ballooning unpaid water bills.

The local authority is owed nearly $2 billion by residents in unpaid water bills. Last week, council clashed with ratepayers after attaching defaulters’ property over unpaid bills.

“Going forward we need to address the problems associated with water disconnections, and the installation of pre-paid water meters is the way to go,” Shiri said during a Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) stakeholders meeting at the weekend.

“We understand that residents are struggling to put food on the table, hence most of the time they fail to settle their bills. To be honest, Zesa introduced pre-paid meters and we see residents queuing to buy electricity. We also have to adopt the use of pre-paid water meters so that we can collect revenue and provide water services,” he said.

Gweru council is currently finding it difficult to provide services because of foreign currency exchange rate distortions obtaining in the country; and without a supplementary budget, council would soon fail to meet its financial obligations and priorities.

“When we crafted the budget for 2022, the rate was $105, but as I speak now the auction rate is around $258, which means our budget has lost value by 145%,” Shiri said.

GRRA director Cornelia Selipiwe said it was important for the local authority to consult all stakeholders to come up with solutions to the city’s service delivery challenges.

“It is critical that council comes back to residents and consult even in proposals such as that of pre-paid water meters,” Selipiwe said.

The city has on several occasions postponed plans to introduce the pre-paid meters after some residents associations threatened to resist the move.

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