The Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) has embarked on door-to-door campaigns to canvass for residents’ support in rejecting prepaid water meters which Harare City Council mulls to install.
by VENERANDA LANGA
CHRA director Mfundo Mlilo said several other organisations had also joined residents in rejecting imposition of prepaid water meters.
“We are building a strong social base of organisations and platforms to reject the prepaid meter project,” Mlilo said on his Facebook page.
“We have engaged our mayor Bernard Manyenyeni and the councillors on the negative impact and unsuitability of the prepaid meter project and have now started door-to-door campaigns to conscientise residents on why they should resist the prepaid meters.”
Other civic organisation groups that supported rejection of prepaid water meters included Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Harare Metropolitan Residents’ Forum, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), National Association of Youth Organisations, the Zimbabwe Young Women’s Network for Peace Building and the Zimbabwe United Residents’ Association.
Mlilo said engagement with the city council was beginning to bear fruit, adding CHRA was confident the local authority was taking a considerate approach on the issue.
ZCTU argued that relations in communities could be eroded if families ran out of water due to the proposed measures.
“Those people without resources may be forced to decrease their consumption of water and resort to untreated water. Trade-offs may also be difficult between water or food, medicine, school fees and other expenses, thereby exposing the most vulnerable to preventable diseases and mortality. There is bound to be a natural escalation of the cost of providing health services, resulting in the health sector (being) burdened due to waterborne diseases resulting from use of untreated water from other sources,” ZCTU said at a recent meeting on the possible impact of prepaid water meters.
The labour movement said workers would be the worst affected as the rich would be able to consume as much as they needed.
ZIMCODD further argued that the prepaid meters would pave the way for privatisation of water supply and undermine public health.
“They will reduce household consumption as they are generally expensive. They will increase conflict in communities, magnify inequalities and exacerbate gender inequalities,” ZIMCODD said.