Byo residents endorse water meter verification exercise

Bulawayo residents have welcomed the water meter verification exercise being undertaken by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) saying it will give the local authority the opportunity to attend to faulty meters and will improve the water billing system.

Some properties have faulty water meters or do not have the gadgets resulting in the local authority using bill estimates.

Residents have argued that they are being overcharged while the local authority is on record that it is losing a lot of revenue due to faulty water meters.

In a statement yesterday, Bulawayo Town Clerk, Christopher Dube said the exercise is part of the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) which seeks to improve municipal water supply and sanitation services. 

The exercise will be done by the BWSSIP/W01- water mains and upgrading contractor, Unik construction engineering (Pty) Ltd from Friday 11 June 2021 until Wednesday 30 June 2021. 

Bulawayo United Residents Association (BURA) Chairperson, Winos Dube said they anticipate that the exercise will rectify the billing system.

“Council wants to check and verify that each household has a water meter, that is a fair move in the hope that after having verified then each household will be charged according to their consumption unlike the current situation which is obtaining on the ground where people are being charged on estimates,” said Dube. 

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) Secretary for Administration, Thembelani Dube added that the move is welcome as they expect the local authority to fix the non-functioning water meters. 

“The issue of residential meter verification by Bulawayo City Council is a welcome development because we are expecting them to replace those meters that are not functioning properly so that they can actually bill residents basing on the actual water readings, not the assumed water readings,” said Dube. 

“It is our assumption that they are bringing in geographical information systems and remote sensing for reading water meters which is a welcome development.” 

Dube, however, highlighted that the residents’ association is worried as the local authority may want to bring in the prepaid water meters under the pretext of the water meter verification exercise. 

“We are welcoming that but we don’t expect the Bulawayo City Council to end up replacing meters with pre-paid meters in the case of finding some other meters not functioning properly because at times these institutions can start a program that may appear good but at the end of the day they will be having motives, so we hope they are replacing meters which are not functioning well with the meters that we are used to because at times you may think that they are bringing in something that is good whilst their intentions are not good,” he said. 

“One of the guys has visited my home and he said it operates in a way that they will be able to detect the meter number basing on the address of the house and that is what was reflecting on his mobile phone so I hope that the purpose, so we hope it’s a good move by BCC,” said Dube.  

The water meter verification exercise will be carried out in Pumula East, Luveve, Pumula Old, Njube, Pelandaba/Iminyela, Tshabalala, Gwabalanda, Mpopoma, Pumula North, Pumula South, Kelvin North, Thorngrove, Old Magwegwe, Cowdray Park, Sizinda, Entumbane. 

Other suburbs include Lobengula West and New Lobengula, New Magwegwe, Magwegwe West, Magwegwe North, Nkulumane, Nketa, Lobengula extension, Emakhandeni, Emnganwini, Enqameni, Belevue, Enqontsheni, Matshobana, West Somerton, Mabuthweni and Kelvin West. 

The Town Clerk said residents are advised that the Unik staff who will be conducting this exercise will be identifiable by a staff identification card and urged residents to assist them during this exercise.

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