Zinwa speeds up smart metering

Fungai Lupande Mash Central Bureau

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) is expediting installation of prepaid water meters across the country with a target of 35 000 meters by year end to curb the ballooning water debts which stand at over $2 billion.

ZINWA board chair Engineer Bongile Ndiweni said they were owed by clients, including domestic consumers, local authorities, farmers, parastatals and Government departments.

Mining companies and agricultural estates are among the debtors.

Speaking during the commissioning of Chimhanda water supply scheme in Rushinga recently, Eng Ndiweni said the non-payment of water bills was burdening the water authority in procuring water treatment chemicals, fuel, electricity and spares.

She said the situation was hindering ZINWA from meeting statutory obligations which included paying taxes, levies, pensions and credits.

Engineer Ndiweni said: “The authority is looking for innovative ways and interventions to collect the money, including engaging debtors and raising awareness for clients to understand the inextricable relationship between payment of bills and service delivery.

“We are also rolling out pre-paid water meters as a way of giving our clients control over their water consumption while offering them an opportunity to pay before water consumption.

“The roll out has already started and we target to install 35 000 prepaid meters by year end.

This will allow the authority to curb the growing number of debtors.”

Eng Ndiweni said ZINWA decentralised its operations in 2020 and introduced 20 service centres across the country. “The creation of this unit added the much required stimulant to the structural reforms that are underway in ZINWA to transform into a high customer focused organisation capable of timely responding to needs, expectations and aspiration of customers,” she said.

“All catchments have been relocated to provincial capitals in line with the devolution agenda.”

Turning to Chimhanda water supply system, Eng Ndiweni said the water treatment plant was constructed 25 years ago and had become obsolete.

She said Chimhanda water supply station was incapable of meeting demand of the growing population and its rehabilitation restored the operational capacity.

“Our deliberate drive to rehabilitate existing water supplies is in line with the Government’s broader aspirations of improving water availability to citizens under the National Development Strategy 1,” she said.

“Communities with reliable and safe water supply systems and infrastructure are healthier and more productive hence the need for us to expeditiously work on ensuring that our communities are water secure.”

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