By Bulawayo Correspondent
ESIGODINI residents in Matebeleland South have resisted Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA)’s move to install pre-paid water meters in the peri-urban area.
The residents insist the water utility should first address the water challenges in the area.
ZINWA has started a pre-paid water meter pilot project in the area in preparation for a mass rollout programme expected to commence in October.
Speaking during an engagement meeting between the bulk water regulatory body and the residents Wednesday, the latter vowed to resist ZINWA’s move to install the gadgets.
“Before you talk about pre-paid meters you should first address the issue of water challenges here. You cannot talk of pre-paid water meters in my house when I have stayed for over five years without water. Please first solve the water challenges which we are having before talking about pre-paid water meters,” said the local councillor Patson Sibanda.
Another resident Gideon Moyo said the pre-paid water meters will not add any value to service delivery because the residents are not accessing the water.
“Most of the households here are relying on borehole water. So, what justification do you have to instill pre-paid meters when we do not have water in our homes. That is ridiculous,” said Moyo.
During the tense meeting, ZINWA spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga tried to defend the move but the residents would not have known of it.
“We need to continually engage with the residents’ associations, show them what we are doing, how it will impact so that they are also part of the solution. We will then come back with the issue of pre-paid water meters, maybe later on, after we have addressed the concerns of residents,” Munyonga said.
“Water is a very scarce resource. The conservation of the resource is very important and so the coming in of pre-paid water meters is a good move towards the conservation of water.
“We can learn from the ZESA story. We used to waste electricity without paying any due regard. We are saying if you have a prepaid water meter you are able to conserve the resource. You use it for those important issues instead of just wasting the resource,” argued Munyonga told the residents.