Pre-paid water meters for councils: Zinwa

HARARE - The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has decided to roll-out prepaid water meters to all local authorities, as part of measures to escalate revenue collection.

Water minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said Zinwa will be in charge of the exercise.

This comes as most local authorities have been failing to pay Zinwa, with the authority embroiled in a $10 million debt with Gwanda council.

As of December 31, 2016, Zinwa was owed more than $146 million by farmers, local authorities and government.

“Both local authorities and residents will need to use what they can afford and to that end, a national roll out of prepaid meters is in progress,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.

“Under this new arrangement, like all other prepayment systems, once the credit runs out, the system automatically cuts off,” she said.

“Without paying for water there will be no resources for procurement of water treatment chemicals, electricity to pump the water as well as critical spares needed to maintain the water supply infrastructure,” she said.

Muchinguri-Kashiri added that Zinwa had begun the project, with some meters already installed in Beitbridge.

The Water minister said the prepaid system will also be targeting farmers especially those participating in command agriculture.

“We are of the hope that the disputes we had because of the absence of meters and resorted to estimates will be resolved. Our other hope is also that this will be a more efficient way of doing business and will assist in making sure that all water that is utilised is paid for,” she said.

Muchinguri-Kashiri added that in previous meetings on water and sanitation she has attended, issues of sustainability were raised as water provision is a human right.

“Whilst it is important to talk about human rights, we need to appreciate that if we are to attain them, we should make sure we spend resources and they are hard to come by,” she said.

“Of course government is aware of the need to provide safety nets for socially disadvantaged and vulnerable groups and the need to give some quantity of water for primary use such as drinking, cooking and bathing,” she said.

In March this year, Zinwa began a massive disconnection exercise that would see all defaulters being cut-off from water supplies until they paid up or entered into payment plans with the authority.

Zinwa public relations manager Marjorie Munyonga said while they were considering taking the legal route, they would continue engaging debtors to pay up.

“This non-payment of bills by Zinwa clients has negatively impacted on Zinwa’s ability to sustainably provide services. As a result of this nonpayment of bills, Zinwa has not been able to repair and maintain water reticulation infrastructure, procure critical spares and build up water treatment chemicals stock,” she said.

Comments (1)

Utterly ridiculous when there is no water to sell! Our pipes have been dry for several years!

citizen - 2 May 2017

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