The efficacy of prepaid water meters for potable water service provision in the Harare City Council, Zimbabwe
The 21st century has witnessed the downfall and failure to expand the potable water infrastructural system by the public service in developing nations. Budgetary limitations have also been pressuring the public sector in developing nations to initiate other revenue accrual tools of service provision such as prepaid water meters to ensure sustainable cash-flow within the public service as a system. It is however unlikely that some of these prepaid water meters have not been solid solutions to the underlying challenges within the public service. The reason is that prepaid water meters fundamentally require a certain level of technical and financial capacity which the public sector in most developing nations is still struggling with. The implementation of prepaid water meters has also been contentious in Harare with residents citing that the meters are an impartial technology which is simply meant to benefit the service provider, whilst alienating the low-income households. The study utilised the pragmatic research philosophy by means of connecting both qualitative and quantitative ontological and epistemological interpretations to address the research questions by using key-informant interviews, focus group discussions and questionnaires. The study also used a document study to discuss prepaid water meter implementation in nine developing and developed nations in comprehending the efficacy of prepaid water meters for potable water provision in Harare. Resultantly, the study exposes that the prepaid water metering system is very commendable; however, its efficacy in implementation is still elusive in the Harare City Council. The study further concludes that prepaid water meters surely have the potential to efficiently deliver potable water, but they are certainly not a miracle panacea for the challenges underpinning the Harare City Council. Based on this exposition, the study ultimately proposes a framework for potable water provision and proffers recommendations and policy implications of prepaid water meters.
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