HCC's water meter project hangs in the balance

HARARE – Harare City Council (HCC)’s project to install 100 000 plus prepaid water meters hangs in the balance as the local authority still awaits determination of the tender’s winner by the State Procurement Board (SPB).

In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme said the project will only commence once the tender winner is announced.

The move to install the smart meters comes as a delegation from HCC’s water department visited Egypt’s El Sewedy Electrometers, after the former had expressed interest in the prepaid metering system.

“We are still waiting for the SPB to finalise the awarding of the tenders,...once that is done we are good to go. The Egypt contractors are still work in progress,” Chideme said.

He added that there is huge demand for the smart meters, as more residents want to take charge of how much they spend on water.

However, Community Water Alliance programmes manager Hardlife Mudzingwa objected, arguing that smart meters are tantamount to privatisation of water.

“Community Water Alliance warned local authorities against the prepayment policy on water service delivery and still maintains its position.

“The painful experiences of typhoid in South Africa emanating from the prepayment policy, is a regional example of the disaster emanating from such neo-liberal policies,” Mudzingwa said.

In Harare’s pre-budget consultative meetings with the business community, council’s finance director, Tendai Kwenda, said they intend on installing 100 000 prepaid water meters in high density areas by December this year.

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