Cowdray Park water project hits snag

A BULAWAYO City Council pre-paid water meter pilot project in Cowdray Park has hit a snag due to delays in the completion of a water ring main pipeline that connects the suburb.

Nqobile Bhebhe

A section of Hlalani Kuhle project has no individual water connections and council plans to install about 11 stand meters in a project being implemented by the Bulawayo Home Seekers Consortium Trust.

This would allow residents to access water by using a system similar to credit cards  at the mains.

Bulawayo council senior public relations officer Nesisa Mpofu said the project was still ongoing despite delays in the completion of the pipeline.

“The project is going ahead as planned. Implementation awaits the completion of the water ring main pipeline currently being installed by the consortium which is expected to be completed by end of this month,” she said.

There had been speculation that the $200 000 project, funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, had stalled.

“Council has not yet implemented the pilot project and will be able to determine its outcome when it has been implemented,” Mpofu said.

“The pilot project will involve all households under the Hlalani Kuhle project area that have no individual water connections because the area is not yet serviced.”
Council is implementing a pilot project in the sprawling Cowdray Park suburb and hopes once fully operational the system will attract private investment.

Although the project is still in its pilot phase, sceptics say utilities like water will become expensive and out of reach of the urban poor.

The scope of the project is to prepare a study document that will also be input into a business plan for water demand management.

Over the years, local authorities have struggled to collect revenue from customers, including residents, commercial entities and government departments, forcing them to embark on extensive water cuts on defaulters.

Consumers would purchase vouchers linked to a credit card with a code that they feed into the meters and get credit units commensurate with the value.

Failure to buy credit units would result in one being automatically disconnected.

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