MUTARE — Mutare City Council is losing millions of dollars because it is still using the old meters which grossly undercharge water usage, city engineer Donald Nyatoti has said.
BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
Nyatoti told Standardcommunity last week that the water meters should have been replaced long back because they had outlived their lifespan.
“Most of the meters currently in use are obsolete and undercharging water usage,” said Nyatoti. “They are now old. Their rundown situation is also because of the water rationing exercise which requires us to shut down supplies to some areas at various intervals,” he said.
He said shutting down and reconnecting water supplies damages the meters.
“Each time we bring back supplies, the water will come with a lot of pressure, thereby stressing the gadgets. At times, the water comes with soil particles that will eventually clog the meters and cause damage,” he said.
Nyatoti said installing pre-paid water meters would help the local authority realise sales from water usage.
He however said, the pre-paid meters could only be installed when the on-going water augmentation exercise was complete.
“They need to be installed when supplies are normal with no rationing,” he said. “What I can tell you is that we have since invited meter suppliers to make presentations so that when the time comes we install the meters.”
Nyatoti said work on the Hobhouse and Murambi water pipelines were 90% complete.
“By end of this month water supply will have normalised in the two locations and we will be left with Dangamvura pipeline on which a lot still has to be done,” he said. “Even before we complete the Dangamvura pipeline, supply to the high-density suburb will be better when we complete the Hobhouse pipeline because we will wean Hobhouse from the existing network that is also supplying Dangamvura. What it means is that the old network will be left to only supply Dangamvura.”
The worsening water crisis in Mutare has been attributed to an increase in demand for water and the breaking down of a borehole in Dangamvura that used to supply three sections of the suburb.
A few months ago, the local authority reported that it was losing about half of its treated water, amounting to 35 000 cubic metres daily through leakages mainly caused by vandalism of public watering points.