Council, residents clash over prepaid water meters

Gweru residents have vowed to resist their council’s plans to introduce prepaid water meters, arguing that the city fathers were failing to consult ratepayers over the programme.

By Stephen Chadenga

The residents’ position is in contradiction with what the majority of councillors recently said at a full council meeting that most residents had welcomed plans to install prepaid water meters.

Most councillors from both the MDC-T and Zanu PF last month said they had consulted with residents in their wards and that they had warmed up to the idea of prepaid water meters.

“We as Gweru United Progressive Residents and Ratepayers’ Development Association Trust (GUPRARDA) are concerned by the local authority’s total disregard for key stakeholders’ input,” GUPRARDA executive director, David Chikore said yesterday.

“Claims that they consulted with residents are irrelevant in such a key policy shift because this is an issue which requires concerted, objective and thorough interrogation of facts before implementation.”

Chikore said council should first address the issue of the “shambolic billing system” before making plans for prepaid water meters.

He said before council officials embarked on proposed tour of cities that had already installed water meters, there was need for a buy-in of the project from local stakeholders.

Gweru mayor, Charles Chikozho, however, maintained that residents had reportedly welcomed plans by council to introduce prepaid water meters.

Chikozho said the installation was not going to be done overnight, but that it was an ongoing consultation process.

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7 Comments

  1. Nonsense! I’m also a Gweru resident and I fully welcome the water meters. GUPATA… who are you? NO one knows you… what have you ever done for me?

  2. Gweru city go ahead with your plan. We want to pay for the water that we use not these estimates. Ignore this thing called gweru rate payers something something. We want those meters yesterday

  3. We want those water meters. any progressive resident would welcome the water meters. while they increase the council’s revenue inflows, they also ensure that we as residents eat what we have hunted.
    water meters ngaauye. kana pane vasingadi council ngaivasiye iisire isu tinomada ma meter acho

    1. Sure, installation of those meters is long overdue.

  4. I am a Gweru resident as well and i say bring the meters. . I have heard fully employed residents vowing not to pay rates in the hope that debt will be wiped clean in the run up up to elections. How is council expected to function fully in such ab environment

  5. The Pre-paid water meter has a mutual benefit. On one hand the consumer pays for accurate consumption and on the other the service/product provider gets consistent revenue to be able to continue with the provision or better still improve on it. Effectively pre-paid meters are the way to go! However, there is an element of miss-trust between our City fathers and the Residents hence the issue. This exposes councils inability to constructively and openly communicate with their stack-holders-the rate payers, who contribute to the bulk of their revenue collections. The rate payers are arguing the failure to consult them over the programme. Honestly if council did consult fully then we would not be having this resistance to the implementation of the pre-paid units. I am sure that there are some of us who do not see the immediate benefit of this programme and as such Council must introduce an optional factor where those of us willing can have them installed.
    For those who are not willing and have over dues, council must simply accept flexible re-payments for them to be cleared. I think this is where the real matter lies… Overdue accounts!!! Water has no option unlike electricity, so as long as Council plays Hard ball the resistance will continue…. On another note, “GUPRARDA” also take council to task on the rapid deterioration of the City, both standards and development. Gweru the “City Of Progress” where is the progress??

  6. I also support the prepaid water meters provided that the fixed charges fall… and also the cost be unit is also reduced. That way, fixed meters become a sure thing and a very logical option.

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