By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
CHINHOYI Municipality has reviewed downwards water charges it bills residents and ratepayers without functional water metres.
Council’s climb-down came amid an outcry as households were getting outrageous estimate bill statements from the local authority, which residents were reluctant to settle.
The revised tariffs, applying solely to households without functional water consumption metres, will see high-density consumers expected to pay an average of $600 while those in medium and low density suburbs would part with an average of $900.
The new tariff regime was reached at a recent special council meeting where a resolution to that effect was passed.
Council’s finance director, Zephaniah Chirarwe, said the charges would be backdated to January this year.
High density consumers would be billed a flat 20 kilolitres, equivalent to 100 drums of water per month.
For high density water users this is a reduction from 50 kilolitres.
Medium and low density water users will be charged 30 kilolitres for which they will pay an average of $900 monthly.
Institutions such as schools and crèches will be billed using average consumption of the past 12 months while churches will pay for 20 kilolitres.
Commercial and industrial properties where there are no water metres would be charged depending on the average usage for the past year.
In a social media group post, Chinhoyi town engineer Simon Marara said a survey had revealed average water consumption in high density areas was 20 kilolitres monthly and had to be revised from the 50 kilolitres previously charged.
Marara said households with working water metres will still be billed at a rate of $29 per kilolitre.
Chinhoyi Residents’ Trust coordinator, Peter Liwanda welcomed the new billing dispensation, describing it as “people-centred” and “progressive.”
“The decision by Chinhoyi Council could not have come at a better time than now when people are still reeling from the effects of Covid-19 which disrupted livelihoods and eroded household incomes.
“There were a lot of concerns regarding the estimate bills which were in some instances outrageous. At least residents will pay reasonable tariffs for water usage,” said Liwanda.