BY SILAS NKALA
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has defended the astronomical water bills sent to ratepayers saying they were a true reflection of the high water usage which had gone beyond the stipulated daily consumption limit of 650 litres per household.
Residents in various parts of Bulawayo have been complaining of huge water bills ranging from $19 000 to $30 000 which were based on estimates.
In a notice to the residents yesterday, town clerk Christopher Dube said the city council had been conducting leak and burst assessment in the Tuli Reservoir in the past eight weeks.
He said this was part of the non-revenue water exercise where specialised equipment was used to observe and pick up changes in water pressure and volume flow patterns.
Dube said the results of the exercise established that the per capita consumptions were high at an average figure of 519 litres per person per day and sometimes, as high as 760 litres per person per day which is above the World Health Organisation standard of 150 litres per person per day.
“This is indicating excessive usage of water. BCC’s water-rationing limit is currently at 650 litres per day, per household for medium to low-density suburbs, which gives a per capita allocation of 108 litres per person per day,” Dube said.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, billing has been based on estimates. The estimates were being calculated using household allocations.
“However, as for June and July 2021, billing has been based on actual readings and, therefore, consumers should expect exceptionally high water bills. It is with this in mind that residents are being encouraged to consume within their household allocation of 650 litres per day.”
Dube said investigations were underway to identify water abusers, which include meter bypasses, hosepipe usage, among others. He said residents were encouraged to report any suspected water abuse to the nearest city council offices or use the customer contact centre platform.
“Council will be deploying plumbers to deal with leaks and non-functional water meters as part of the non-revenue water reduction exercise,” Dube said.
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