Gweru conducts water consumption survey

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

GWERU City Council is carrying out a survey on water consumption habits by residents with the hope of, among other things, finding out the number of households with malfunctioning water meters, the Southern Eye has established.

Deputy mayor, Cleopas Shiri told a full council meeting that the survey started last week, with council workers visiting households to carry out inspections.

“We have started a survey on water consumption habits by residents and we expect them (residents) to co-operate when our employees visit their households,” Shiri said.

“The study seeks, among other things, to find out the number of families staying at each household and identify houses with malfunctioning water meters.”

The council rolled out the survey after realising that thousands of households were using water for free due to faulty water meters.

Three years ago, council said 23 000 households were using water for free, with 15 000 households operating on malfunctioning water meters, while 8 000 houses had no meters at all.

Over the years, ratepayers have been demanding itemised bills from council, arguing that they presented a true reflection of outstanding amounts owed to the local authority.

Council is, however, yet to implement the request for itemised bills.

A research carried out last year by Gweru Residents Forum (GRF) showed that council continued to rely on a flawed billing system, which has seen ratepayers being charged exorbitant rates.

According to the GRF survey conducted in the city’s five wards, disputed water bills, among other service delivery issues, constituted the highest number of complaints by residents.

The report further showed that many households in the high-density suburbs had faulty water meters, with residents being charged a flat 20 kiloliters, regardless of their consumption.