THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has halted installation of prepaid water meters saying the project has become too costly.
Bulawayo Director of Engineering Services, Engineer Simela Dube revealed this on Friday as he told a gathering attending the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project Service (BWSSIP) delivery indaba held at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre that changes in the economic environment have led council to have a change of heart regarding implementing the policy.
BCC for years has been pushing for the implementation of prepaid meters saying it would improve ways of generating revenues as rate payers were defaulting payments.
“The issue of prepaid meters that was also raised by my colleague which obviously the city has looked at. One of the biggest challenges at the moment is that most of them (prepaid meters) are actually imported. We changed our currencies while council had actually approved a policy forward,” said Eng Dube.
“You will find out that the prepaid meters and what we are billing does not make any business sense.
“The cost of a prepaid meter is between US$300 to US$500 per unit. But our bill of water after effecting 42 percent increase the water bill could be ZW$1 per cubic metre.
“On average people use between 15 to 20 cubic metres. So, to look for a US$350 device in order to collect ZW$15 wouldn’t make sense. However, that policy has not been thrown away. We will continue to review it as the economic environment stabilises. But currently that’s where our challenges are with the policy.”
Residents associations had in the past strongly opposed the prepaid water system.State media