Water Citizens Network Oppose Prepaid Water Meters

Water Citizens Network Ghana, a Civil Society Organization (CSO), has opposed the planned introduction of prepaid water meters by the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL).

A press statement by the Network in Accra and signed by its National Coordinator, Leonard Shang-Quartey said, ‘We are equally disappointed at an insensitive statement made by the acting Managing Director of the Ghana Water Company Limited to the effect that from August 2015 access to water for the population is going to be pay and consume instead of consume and pay.’

According to the Citizens Network, ‘Citizens, particularly the poor, should not be made to pay for the neglect and least prioritized needs of the GWCL in resource allocation.’

It indicated that the introduction of prepaid water meters in the sector ‘is not sustainable means of ensuring access for all, rich or poor but the means to prevent the poor from getting access to clean and safe drinking water.

Citizens Network, in the statement stated that ‘we do acknowledge and are sensitive to the challenges facing GWCL at ensuring sustainable delivery of quality and universally accessible water to consumers.’

It called on civil society organizations committed to the promotion of human rights to condemn the planned move by GWCL.

According to the Citizens Network, prepaid metering should not be countenanced because it is a cruel means of managing demand; those who are unable to afford are simply cut off to increase access to those with the economic means.’

‘In South Africa where prepaid meters were used, the experience had been that the new gadgets work like pay-as-you-go cell phones and instead of having a dead phone when you run out of money, you have dead people sickened by drinking cholera-infested water.’

Suggestions
It urged GWCL to focus on the real issues responsible for the high level of non-revenue water, namely metering inaccuracies, unauthorized consumption, losses in production and transmission and huge indebtedness of public institutions.

Citizens Network urged the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing to make the requisite investments to rehabilitate and replace damaged facilities.

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