Council still keen on prepaid water meters

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is still interested in installing prepaid water meters in the city with city fathers proposing that all new properties be fitted with the gadgets.

This is despite an outright rejection of the proposal by residents some years who felt the move would deny them their right to water.

However, according to the latest finance and development committee report councillors want all new properties built in the city to be fitted with prepaid water meters.

“Councillor Mlandu Ncube observed that there were new properties that needed to be connected to municipal water, why not sell the idea of prepaid water meters to the property owner,” read the minutes.

The Director of Engineering Services Simela Dube concurred saying it would be ideal to start the project within the Central Business District and industrial areas as these were generally spared from water shedding.

“In his view it would not be cost effective to install at the few volunteer residential properties as they were scattered all over the city,” read the minutes.

In response the finance director Kimpton Ndimande confirmed that there were some companies who had shown interest in the project and would want to do a trial run.

The Chamber Secretary Sikhangele Zhou said for residential areas council could save costs if the meters were in one area as this will cut out meter reading costs and it would be more practical to establish company vending points.

However, Alderman Clayton Zana queried if council had done a proper research on prepaid meters and if the local authority will benefit from the project.

Councillor Sinikiwe Mutanda expressed reservations on the installation of prepaid meters saying there was no substitute for water unlike electricity where one could resort to other means.

Council is facing a water crisis and is likely to decommission two of its supply dams by the end of the year a situation that will see the reintroduction of the water shedding programme.

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