Prepaid water meters in demand


13 April 2018 | Local News

A pilot project on the supply, installation and commissioning of 300 prepaid domestic water meters was successfully implemented and there is demand to extend and continue the initiative in other areas of Walvis Bay.

The management committee (MC) of the Walvis Bay council therefore recommended the gradual implementation of the project.

The initial contract asked for 300 meters but the available budget could only be used for 200 hundred devices obtained at a cost of N$500 each and installed by Diamond Game factory.

For the project to continue in the current financial year an additional 1 000 prepaid water meters are required to be installed, starting in the Tutaleni area.

The saving of N$1 500 000 (budgeted for the Mile 7 Reservoir) and N$500 000 (Upgrade) will be transferred to finance the procurement of the prepaid water meter systems from qualifying suppliers.

It was also noted that the extension of the pilot to a full scale implementation of the prepaid water meter system requires an additional meter technician at the water section. Such position must be created and budgeted for in the 2018/2019 financial year to ensure satisfactory service delivery. One hundred and ninety five prepaid meters are operational for the last four months. According to the finance department an amount of N$336,858.50 was collected until middle March of which 50% is allocated to debt and the rest for buying of water.

Positively received

The MC thus recommended that the project be gradually implemented and continue to be budgeted for.

The feedback from the technical team dealing with the meter installation and its daily operations experienced few difficulties, which were sorted out satisfactorily.

The installation of the prepaid meters was positively received by the consumers and a request from the community is to install more. The request is for an additional 2 000 meters for the areas of Tutaleni (951), New Hostel Erf 218 Kuisebmond(679), Erven 218 Narraville (5) , Erven 322 Narraville (11), Erven 324 Narraville (10), Old Single Quarters (231) and Kuisebmond Centre (102).

Low income and poor households struggle to pay their monthly municipal bills and to settle overdue accounts. It has thus become more difficult for council to recover debts from delinquent water consumers in Walvis Bay.

The department of water, waste and environmental management in conjunction with the finance department saw it necessary to implement a mechanism that will facilitate debt recovery and mitigate the processes which will reduce the number of consumers accumulating debt with council.

A prepaid water meter system is one of the methods identified to assist council in realising its objective to recover monies due. The track record of prepaid water meter systems in Namibia and other neighbouring countries so far has been mixed.

Some organisations have not been able to sustain the systems but others are delivering results that are sufficiently promising to mitigate the rapidly growing debt. Council approved the implementation of a pilot project for the prepaid water meter systems. The meters were installed in 2017 and are performing as expected.

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