After a lot of planning, promises and pushback from civic organisations the City of Harare eventually started installing prepaid water meters in parts of the city.
These new terminals are meant to provide residents with a prepaid water system that provides water on a pay-per-use basis. According to the City of Harare, the system will have a feature that allows defaulting residents to get some water on credit.
So far 2,000 homes in six suburbs have been identified for the pilot implementation of the meters and residents who requested for the service are the ones being offered the terminals. The City of Harare has been regularly sharing some of the progress with this.
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Judging from the way the City Council has been struggling with residents who default on payments the municipality is the main beneficiary of this system. Revenue collection will become easier, something that the city of Harare and every other town toying with prepaid water already realised.
However, one other enormous benefit will be the management of water consumption and the city’s water resources. Harare has struggled with this for decades, and while prepaid services compel residents to manage water, they also play the important role of helping the city keep track of faults in water delivery.
While the smart meters for Harare haven’t been opened up to third-party integration which can allow for the inclusion of water management applications, there will be scope for that if this is successfully introduced in every home.
Standard smart meters are designed to monitor points of leakage in a specific area’s delivery system and this is on the municipality’s end. However, the functionality can also be opened to localised area and individual residents water management.
It’s pretty ambitious at this point, especially seeing that the ZESA prepaid electricity system didn’t come with the same option. However, with just 2,000 homes experiencing prepaid water, now would probably be the time for potential third party service providers to chase that same opportunity.
image credit – City of Harare