Residents Reject Pre-Paid Water Meters in Harare

Report
from Voice of America
Published on 29 Sep 2013 View Original

HARARE — Harare residents are mobilizing to reject a move by the Harare City Council to introduce pre-paid water meters saying this is a recipe for disaster that may see many succumbing to water-borne diseases as water becomes even more scarce in a city already struggling to cope with serious shortages.

The local authority last week announced plans to install pre-paid water meters starting in the Avenues area in the City to give consumers ‘power’ to manager their consumption. But the Harare Residents Trust, one of the groups representing Harare residents, says the move is being rejected by the people.

HRT director Precious Shumba says the move is a profit-making project for the local authority which has failed to address the plight of the residents for more than a decade now.

“Water is a basic right for every resident,” said Shumba. “We are saying No to privatizing water because it is precious. Pre-paid water meters represent the total hijacking of a human right by city bureaucrats who are only concerned with increasing revenue inflows instead of addressing its billing system, which has given residents nightmares.”

“We reject this apparent profit- making project in its totality, and will only express a different view once we have sufficient information on the benefits that will accrue to residents.”

Harare Water director, Engineer Christopher Zvobgo aims to encourage residents to pay their bills.

He said the local authority intends to install initially 1,000 pre-paid water meters in the Avenues area in the City and expand later to other suburbs, depending on the success of the pilot project.

Shumba said the local authority should have consulted residents first, adding the recently-elected councilors have not yet met to discuss the program, which he says is being pushed by the administrators at Town House all in the quest of raking in more revenues for the struggling City.