BY Stephen Chadenga
GWERU City Council (GCC) has resurrected plans to install pre-paid water meters barely three months after saying it had indefinitely suspended the move due to the high costs involved in implementation.
In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy, Cleopas Shiri during a recent tour by officials from the National Defence University, mayor Josiah Makombe revealed that council was courting investors for the rehabilitation of both its water reticulation system and prepaid meter project.
“We have investment opportunities for those who are willing to take up rehabilitation of the water reticulation network and deployment of prepaid water meter system in the city,” Makombe said.
“We are also calling for investors who are willing to rehabilitate our sewage treatment plants and upgrade our reticulation system.”
Makombe added: “We have power challenges in Zimbabwe and as a local authority, we have created investment opportunities for anyone willing to venture into waste to energy power generation supply into the national grid.”
The city has on several occasions set aside plans to introduce prepaid meters and the latest move was likely to draw the ire of residents associations.
Gweru Residents Forum director Charles Mazorodze said his organisation would resist any attempt by council to impose prepaid meters on residents.
“As we have said before, any attempt to bring prepaid water meters through the back door will be met with stiff resistance,” he said.
“Water is a right and we cannot tolerate the move, particularly in a city where lives have been lost through typhoid and other water borne diseases.”
Council, however, argues that prepaid meters would improve its revenue collection base and remove of defaulting.
Residents owe the local authority more than $68 million in unpaid water bills.