Chitungwiza Municipality which has embarked on a water blitz yesterday since last weekend has caught and penalised at least 22 households, each paying $8000 for stealing water by bypassing the water meters.
The council’s public relations officer Lovemore Meya confirmed the developmentsaying those who fail to pay the fine will be arrested and taken to court.
“We have always been inundated with calls from residents who stay on higher elevation complaining that they were not getting some water at all or it was with low pressure.Our technical team from the water section observed that the municipality was losing unbilled water through thefts either by syphoning water below the meter, damaging pipes or vandalising pipes, ” Meya said.
“Our plumbers are in full force for such water thefts and we are issuing out penalty tickets amounting to $8, 190 including VAT.These tickets are payable to council within seven working days and if the offender fails to settle it, will be handed to the police and Court proceedings will then follow.”
He said the exercise will see council reducing the percentage of non-revenue water from the current figure of 65 to 55 percent with areas on higher elevation expected to get water after plugging all leakages.
The local authority said it is expecting an improvement in user tariffs collection and this will improve their potential to pay Harare for the water supplied to the dormitory town.
Meya added:“We would like to warn all residents that our plumbers will go and enforce compliance to water demand management in areas getting water.
“Plain-clothed municipal police will follow in the covered areas to ensure that there is compliance and also to mitigate issues of bribery.”
So far, tickets were issued in Seke North, St Mary’s and Zengeza and these fines are being carried under the Water Act.