By Tatenda Chitagu
The Masvingo City Council, which had hiked charges by 400 percent in the new budget, has relented to pressure from residents and reduced the charges by 21 percent.
Residents are however still not accepting the new charges, saying the local authority should reduce the hike by 200 percent.
The Masvingo residents allege that the bills, which will be down to around $472 per household in the high-density suburbs per month, are way beyond the reach of many.
In a notice on the reduction of minimum water charges recently, the MCC says the new billing regime will be with effect from 01 April.
“(The) City of Masvingo would like to notify residents and ratepayers that it has reduced the minimum water band from 0-10cubic meters to 0-5 cubic meters, translating to a reduction in the minimum water charge for high-density areas from $260 to $130 and the basic household bill from $602, 90 to $472,90.
“The effect of this is that residents will pay less in fixed charges and their bill becomes more dependent on their water consumption,” reads the notice by Acting Town Clerk, Engineer Edward Mukaratirwa
The reversal came after advocacy and lobbying by residents pressure group, the Masvingo Residents and Ratepayers Alliance, (MURRA).
MURRA spokesperson, Godfrey Mtimba, said the organisation was also going to engage its membership on the way forward.
“In the previous meeting, we were asked to make submissions. In response, the council proposed to reduce the bill by 21 percent. It is against this background that MURRA seeks to come back to the generality of our membership for guidance,” he said.
Most residents were of the view that the charges were too much, arguing that water supplies remained erratic despite being invoiced high bills at the end of the month.
The city had introduced a tight water rationing program before the lockdown that saw various suburbs getting water supplies at least three times a week.