Source: Residents’ body fumes over prepaid water meters | The Herald July 11, 2017
Munyaradzi Doma Herald Reporter
Harare residents have urged the city council to ensure uninterrupted water supplies before embarking on the proposed prepaid water metres.
Harare Residents’ Trust director Mr Precious Shumba said it was surprising that while emphasis should be on ensuring that enough potable water reached residents, the city was busy with a new means of revenue collection.
He said the installation of prepaid water meters could be a ploy to benefit corrupt individuals.
Installation of the meters is expected next month after the successful implementation of the pilot project for smart meters.
Mr Shumba told The Herald yesterday that while the city was trying to increase water revenue collection, the officials were not fully addressing the quality and quantity which reached the residents.
“To us, prepaid water meters are not the solution, this is just a way of enriching management and some corrupt councillors,” he said. “We have been informed that some of the five companies which will be installing the smart meters belong to top politicians.
“They are ignoring all the calls which residents are making about prepaid meters because they want to make money, they are just stressing on making money and nothing to improve the water situation for the residents.
“The problem with Harare’s water situation lies in the water losses which are said to be pegged at 60 percent. They should address that first and also the chaotic billing system which is prone to manipulation.
“We feel they should address that first, because all the water losses are being caused by burst water pipes and illegal connections. So, before they talk of introducing smart meters, they should first address that issue of water losses, because once water is reaching the residents, then they (residents) will pay.”
Mr Shumba said another concern was that water revenue was not being ploughed back into the water system.
He alleged that the revenue was being used for salaries, hence the water situation was not improving.
“From calculations, you can see that if the city is pumping 450 megalitres per day and they say that they are losing 60 percent, then they are losing 270 megalitres per day,” said Mr Shumba.
“So, they should work towards getting that water to the residents, then they will pay for the water.”
Harare Water director Engineer Hosea Chisango said after successfully completing the pilot phase, commercial installations would start in August.
“I’m sure if we do the awarding (tenders) processes in July, they should be able to mobilise and start work in August,” he said. “With the five contractors that we have, we want 100 000 households to be connected; that’s our target.”