“Test prepaid water on government first!”

The Harare Resident's Assocation says the prepaid water meters should be tested on government sites before being rolled out to residential areas.
The Harare Resident’s Trust says that prepaid water meters should be tested at government sites before being rolled out to residential areas.

In Zimbabwe, the Harare Resident’s Trust (HRT) has said a project to test prepaid water meters should be trialled at government buildings first. These departments ‘have always been reluctant to pay for water supplies,’ according to a report in the News Day.

Government should lead by example and pay for services before rolling this programme out in residential areas, HRT said in a statement.

2,000 prepaid water meters

In a recent tender, the Harare City Council expressed interest in the delivery and installation of 2,000 prepaid water meters to be installed in the central business district and Avenues section.

However, government has been accused of not settling it’s own water bills at properties across the country, despite numerous attempts by various local councils to rectify this situation.

“To begin with, the council should install the prepaid [water] meters in government offices and on different ministers’ [properties] who reportedly owe council a lot of money,” HRT said in the statement.

“Installing prepaid [water] meters given the current scenario of inadequate supplies of water, broken pipes and water pipe thefts is not ideal.

“Primarily, the council is insisting on prepaid [water] meters as a way of increasing revenue collections and their focus is not to supply water effectively and efficiently.”

Money not being spent properly

The money that has been collected, HRT continued, has not been effectively used, even when it has been collected by local authorities.

“Water is a common and natural resource to which we all have an equal right and responsibility. We appreciate that for urban water to be potable, it comes with costs that someone definitely has to meet.

“Since 1953, Harare City Council has been collecting fixed water charges which were meant to repair and maintain the water distribution network. However, the monies were used elsewhere.”