Harare Council targets 50 000 new water meters

Water woes . . . Residents of Harare’s Budiriro suburb have gone for three months without running water and are resorting to fetching the precious liquid from unprotected sources. — (Picture by Emore Muzerengi)
Water woes . . . Residents of Harare’s Budiriro suburb have gone for three months without running water and are resorting to fetching the precious liquid from unprotected sources. — (Picture by Emore Muzerengi)

Harare City Council will soon install 50 000 new meters as the city fathers target to pump nearly 650 mega-litres of clean water within the next two months.

About 60 kilometres of old pipes and pressure valves will be replaced as this exercise kicks off.

The city needs at least 900 mega-litres of water daily, but the local authority is currently pumping 450 mega-litres with indications that about 280 mega-letres is lost through damaged underground pipes leaving residents with only 170 mega-litres.

However, council recently resolved to reduce water leakages by 40 percent before 2015 and a further 25 percent by 2020.

The city fathers recently approved the ambitious programme and water pipes have since been purchased.

According to latest council minutes, about 60 percent of treated water is lost through leakages, consumers are not properly billed and illegal water connections have been siphoning the local authority of potential revenue.

“The water loss for Harare stands at 60 percent . . . The department aims to reduce this to 40 percent by 31st December 2015 and subsequently to below 25 percent by December 2020,” reads part of the council minutes.

The treated water loss has resulted in council losing revenue at a time reports are also surfacing that the local authority could have also have been prejudiced of thousands of dollars through an EcoCash Payment System.

An internal audit unearthed massive discrepancies in the payment of rates by residents and what Econet owed council.

Council started accepting rental payments through EcoCash in June last year.

The audit committee, in its report, raised concern on nearly $1 million which has been attributed to withdrawals and was not captured in the accounting system.

According to council minutes, there was lack of reconciliations between the Biller Code and BIQ (accounting system) control account.

“As at 30 April 2014 the Biller Code had a balance of $130 912.60 and BIQ Ecocash Control had $1 055 683.27,” reads part of the minutes.

Council has since ordered its Information and Technology manager to investigate the anomaly.

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