Mutare moots prepaid water meters

The city council here has mooted plans to install prepaid water meter readers as it seeks to implement long-lasting solutions to its perennial water challenge.

Cty Engineer Donald Nyatoti
Cty Engineer Donald Nyatoti

Some 53 percent of its water is unaccounted for, according to the engineering department, and the council is losing millions in revenue as a result.

The council’s water and sewer department produces about 75,000 mega litres of water a day. Technically, the council is effectively billing a mere 47 percent of its water, which has resulted in the loss of revenue.

Cty Engineer Donald Nyatoti acknowledged that most of the water losses were due to leaks, but that these had now been dealt with. “The new challenge is that some of the residential meters are no longer working, people tend to abuse their use of water because they know that the council is not billing them.

“We don’t have control over such residents as we use estimates in such cases, which might not translate to the amount of water used,” he said. Nyatoti said the council was looking at either erecting new meters or prepaid meters in order to account for all its water usage.

“There are benefits for both the council and the consumers, who will be able to manage their water usage conveniently. Prepaid meters assist with managing cash flow for both consumers and local authority.

“I believe it will be manageable. Zesa has managed to do a sterling job with them and I’m sure the same positive results will come out if we decide to introduce them,” said Nyatoti.

In its endeavours to resolve the water challenge, the local authority is also searching for funds to complete the installation of three water pipes to supply the city. So far is has received $3 million, which was mainly used to purchase equipment for the three pipelines – including special pipes, valves, and valve boxes.

So far the council has completed the installation of two of the pipelines supplying water to Hobhouse High Density Suburb and the low density suburbs. But it has now run out of funds to complete the installation of the Dangamvura High Density Suburb water pipeline.

The council recently extended its begging bowl to the German Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ullrich Kloeckner. It needs about $850,000 to complete the three projects, with the bulk of the money being channelled to the Dangamvura pipeline.

“We have completed two of three pipelines supplying Hobhouse and the Murambi residential areas. The two pipelines are only left with valve and small pipes to connect to the valve boxes. The Dangamvura pipeline is the one that we are still working on. We need high pressure pipes. We are left with about two kilometres to cover,” said Nyatoti .

“We received three million, which we have exhausted by purchasing the equipment that have been used so far. The council have been providing our own labour. But as a council we have also used more than 500, 000 from our own coffers for the water project.”

The city water project is connected to its two main supplies, namely the Pungwe Water Project and the Odzani Water works. It began 10 years ago but has faced funding challenges all along the way. n In 2006, the project was transferred from the local authority to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, which did nothing to develop the project. The local authority took it back from ZINWA in 2009, but only began to develop it 2011.

Post published in: News
  1. WATER

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *