City awards tender for prepaid water meters

Mrs Ncube

Mrs Ncube

Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Harare City Council has awarded five local companies a tender to deliver and install prepaid water meters, associated connections and meter management systems ahead of a pilot project set for April this year.

The city plans to roll out the project at properties in the avenues area, new housing schemes and those belonging to volunteers.

At least 28 companies made bids for the tender, but the city selected Utility Systems, Syvern Investments, Hukoshwa, Industrial Chemical and Tricon.

The installation of prepaid meters has been met with resistance from residents’ associations but the city believes the pressure groups are not representative of the residents’ sentiments on the issue.

Government has also given local authorities the greenlight to install the meters to ensure everyone pays for water consumption.

Acting town clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube said in an interview on Monday the companies awarded the tender were in the process of bringing the water meters into the country.

“We awarded five companies to run the prepaid water meters programme,” she said. “We are happy with the progress so far. Our engineers have met with the companies’ representatives. They are in the process of bringing their gadgets into the country.

“We will be working on a computer system which gets feedback from the smart meters. The companies are supplying these gadgets at their own cost.”

Mrs Ncube said 2 000 properties were being targeted for the pilot project and that each company was expected to supply 400 prepaid water meters.

Harare mayor Mr Bernard Manyenyeni is on record saying the introduction of prepaid water system was at an advanced stage and the city was not going back on the project considering the fast-changing operational systems due to new technology.

“The process will begin through a phased approach to gauge progress and success of the project,” he said. “We will draw some lessons from countries that have already started using such systems like South Africa.”

To cushion disadvantaged residents, Harare will introduce a rate limiter, which blocks water when one fails to recharge, but will allow water to continue running at reduced pressure.

Authorities say the system helps curb treated water theft and will boost revenue inflows by ensuring consumers pay for water upfront.

Consumers owe Harare City Council over $300 million, with the finance department estimating that it collects $12 million against a potential $24 million monthly.

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  • Ziso

    Good move. I think people will desist from watering their gardens using treated water. I live in a neighborhood where people sometimes leave hose pipes running all night taking advantage of the current system.

    • Forlifeandlove

      We don’t need this! Life is about making it easy for fellow human beings and not about revenue collection. Can you imagine life having failed to pay for your water bill, not because you don’t want to, but because you can’t. One only has to be heartless, insensitive,blind, inconsiderate etc to implement this which will have adverse effects on health (cholera outbreaks etc). I do not support water wastage but let’s look back/come back to realise that water is a basic requirement for life.
      If the authorities should go ahead installing these meters then they meet the characteristics i have mentioned above and this saying that everyone must have access to clean water is insincere and is just noise. I know of situations where communities have gone for days without water and how unbearable life becomes. It will be an exceedingly sad day when you use the toilet or prepare any meal or just drink water just because you owe council money which you will still have to pay.