City owed $80 million in unpaid water bills, pins hopes on prepaid meters

City owed $80 million in unpaid water bills, pins hopes on prepaid meters

HARARE, July 10 (The Source) – The City of Harare says it is owed up to $80 million in unpaid water bills which have accrued since 2013 as water revenue continues to decline and expects the introduction of prepaid water meters to bolster its revenue base.

Domestic users owe the city $30 million, about 37 percent of the debt, government  $10,4 million while business and industry owe $26,1 million and $6,1 million respectively.

Council has since started inviting tenders for the delivery and installation of prepaid water meters with a pilot project expected to commence before the end of the year.

Harare Water director Christopher Zvobgo told The Source on Friday that the pilot project would cover 2,000 properties.

“The pilot project will help us establish the best way to implement the project after we have assessed the most efficient methods. So after all that we expect to roll out the project in April next year starting with commercial and industrial users,” he said.

Proponents of prepaid metering see it as a way to improve revenue collections, and access to services while critics say the system penalizes poor customers.