Gweru moves to introduce prepaid water meters

GWERU City Council has said it will roll out 38 000 smart water meters in a bid to maximise its water revenue collection and reduce the default rate on bills.
This was revealed last week as the municipality unveiled a $45 million budget, up from last year’s $38 million.

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

The council is owed $58 million in unpaid water bills. Presenting the 2019 budget, acting finance director Owen Masimba said the meters would be introduced in phases.

“The major highlights of the 2019 budget include, among other things, the rolling out of 38 000 smart water meters, upgrading and rehabilitation of water and sewer infrastructure, a major road rehabilitation exercise, introduction of ICT and computerisation of systems and the upgrading of Ascot Stadium,” Masimba said.

Last year, council postponed the rolling out of prepaid water meters, saying it needed more time to understudy the performance of local authorities that had already introduced the prepaid meters.

Harare City Council plans to roll out the system in some suburbs this year, while Shurugwi installed 3 000 water meters in 2015.

Residents associations in Gweru, however, said they would resist the water meters because they “would exclude many from accessing potable water, while exposing residents to waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid”.

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