Today (Tuesday 20 September 2022) Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) submitted to the Bulawayo City Council a petition with 1513 signatures asking the local authority to review its water billing system in accordance with the currently prevailing water shedding programme.
Currently Bulawayo City Council is facing a water shortage situation which has forced the authority to institute an official 72 hours a week water shedding programme, though practically, some sections of the City have gone for over 21 days without household tap water. This means that for about 40% in a month, the residents do not have running tap water in their households. However, the current estimated water billings have not been adjusted to be in sync with the water shedding realities.
The residents’ petition therefore called for the Bulawayo City Counci to:
- Do away with estimated billing and resort to actual water meter reading to determine the monthly bills;
- Should the Council be unable to do actual meter reading, then deduct about 20 – 30% of our estimated bills in view of the 40% without tap water per month reality, this will be progressively increased when the hours of water shedding also increase. This 20 – 30% deduction is a negotiated proposal from residents bearing in mind that we sometimes fill containers and that this water shortage situation is not entirely the fault of the Council.
The Bulawayo City Council officials received the petition which was signed by 1513 residents from 56 suburbs. The local authority and MIHR also agreed to convene an engagement meeting for the local authority to further explain its billing system and receive billing complaints. The engagement meeting will be attended by the MIHR Bulawayo Water Action (BUWA) Water Champions.
The action is part of the MIHR #ClaimYourWaterRights campaign which is supported by End Water Poverty.