City insists on installing prepaid meters

“It’s no longer the wholesale kind of project where each and every resident is bulldozed into having a pre-paid water meter,”

BULAWAYO City Council has vowed to go ahead with its plans to install prepaid water meters despite fierce resistance from residents.


The local authority argues that the move would effectively manage water use in a city that experiences perennial shortages of the precious liquid.

According to the latest council report, a tender for the supply of 1 500 prepaid water meters is soon to be advertised.

Various companies have already demonstrated how prepaid water meters function and their cost. Council said 1 600 meters would cost approximately $360 000.

“The system to capture prepaid meters was already in place and the tender process could take three months and the supply another three months,” a report by the engineering services department says.

“A request could be made for the supply to be in batches eg 200 meters at a time.

“Various companies had demonstrated how the water meters functioned and 1 600 meters would cost approximately $360 000.

“Such costs could then be recovered from the affected beneficiaries.”

Engineering services director Simela Dube said consultations were made and it would be necessary for t council to make a decision on modalities of funding the project considering costs involved.

The cost of a prepaid meter is pegged at approximately $200.

However, council dropped the option of having Hlalani Kuhle residents in Cowdray Park paying $3,87 per month in rates.

Under the proposal, this would have raised the beneficiaries’ monthly instalments towards servicing of Hlalani Kuhle stands from $50 to $53,87, excluding water consumption.

Deputy mayor Gift Banda warned that the prepaid meters issue “was a sensitive matter.”

“There was need to exercise caution,” the report quotes Banda saying.

“From a council viewpoint, revenue collection would be maximised, but there was resistance from the public.”

In view of this, he said that the council could instead target volunteers and companies keen on using meters.


  1. prepaid electricity has worked for most of us and the charges have made us control what we use. what do i do if i personally want the water meter at my house and i think it will work for me.

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