Katima Mulilo — The Katima Mulilo Town Council last Friday officially launched the prepaid water meter system as the council intends to phase-out the meter reading system which was severely criticised by residents over the years.
Katima residents are unhappy about how the meter reading system was being implemented. They accused water meter readers of fabricating the readings in order to pocket hefty amounts for themselves.
After continuous complaints from its residents, the town council last September resolved to install prepaid water meter system in the entire town.
Katima Mulilo CEO Raphael Liswaniso stated that council has "achieved a milestone" which he says will not only bring residents' complaints to bed but will also help council to collect the debt it is owed.
He says although the decision to install the prepaid system was initially taken in 2013, it could not be carried out as it proved to be costly at the time.
However, last year the town council entered into a public private partnership with ABC Investment to install the prepaid water meters and be paid at a later stage. Liswaniso explained ABC Investment will be paid in three months instalments and residents will pay N$2 500 towards the water meters.
"Our intention was to put prepaid meters only to those who owe us and cut their water if they don't pay, but then we felt that it is good that we have to put this all over town because even the community is not happy on how we charge them on the conventional meters," he said.
According to Katima Mulilo Mayor, Georgina Mwiya-Simataa the prepaid system will also help council to collect about N$60 million it is owed by the residents as all other means to collect the money proved futile.
However, Mwiya-Simataa says once it is fully implemented "this initiative will also see increased revenue, fair water rate charges to customers, while reducing customer complaints and ensuring compliance with payment of debt".
One of the residents of Ngweze Location where the prepaid meters have already been installed, Primrose Musialela, praised the new system.
"Unlike the previous system, this new system is really good because you are able to see how you use your water," she said.