Pre-paid water meter project shelved

The installation of pre-paid water meters for Chitungwiza has been put on hold following queries by councillors about the process that saw the Chinese-aligned Zimbabwe Innovative Technology (ZIMIT) getting the tender.

Town Mayor Phillip Mutoti confirmed that the project had been shelved pending a full council meeting slated for this week. “We held meetings with residents and the majority of them are not happy with the current billing system which they say is short-changing them. Over 80 % want the water meters but the issue was put on hold pending a full council meeting where it is hoped the tendering process will include two or three more companies.”

Last year, a senior official at the ailing municipality revealed that $265,000 had been paid to a Chinese company for the supply of 3,000 prepaid water meters. The Director of Engineering Services, AlfonceTinofa, said the consignment was expected in the country in January 2014 for installation in early February.

But Town Clerk George Makunde insisted that nothing had been paid. “ZIMIT indicated that they were interested in running the pilot project of the first 3,000 meters and we agreed that they implement the trial project on the basis,” he said.

Once installed, residents will be billed according to consumption. The council 38 cents per kilolitre of water and residents are billed using outdated water meters.

ZIMIT Director Nyikadzino Dube said his company was in the process of establishing a plant for the manufacture of the meters which he hoped would serve not only Chitungwiza but all local authorities.

“Everything is in place and we are yet to meet with our Chinese partners on how to go forward on the establishment of this manufacturing plant. Our aim is to provide lasting solutions in the billing system not only locally but regionally,” he said.

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