An analysis of the impacts of prepaid water meters in three towns in Namibia.
Iipinge, Kornelia N.
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Namibia’s climate is hot and dry with erratic rainfall.Groundwateristhe main source of water. Namibian municipalities are responsible for drinking water delivery in urban areas. They buy bulk water from the national water utility (NamWater) and many face challenges in paying for the water. The main objective of this study was to investigate the impacts of prepaid water metering systems in three selected towns (Karibib, Swakopmund and Usakos). The specific objectives were to investigate the drivers for the installation of Prepaid Water Meters(PPWMs), to investigate stakeholder involvement and their perceptions of PPWMs. The study also analysed the impacts of PPWMs on residents in the selected towns. Individual PPWMs in Usakos Town and communal standpipes PPWMs in the three town’s informal settlements were studied. Purposive sampling method was used to identify customers that use PPWMs. Methods usedto collect data included focus group discussions, household surveys, interviews with key informants and observations. A total of 321 household questionnaires investigating household/water user perceptions on service delivery, access and reliability, affordability of water and water use changes were administered. The study found out that the PPWMs were installed to recover costs as a result of poor revenue collection efficiency, illegal water connections and high debts of the water users. The study also found out that customers were not consulted before the introduction of the PPWMs. Although most of the respondents stated that PPWMs had a number of problems, such as the availability of tokens to top up credit, the majority preferred PPWMs to postpaid meters. The study established that the PPWMs were considered unreliable and are non-functional most of the time with along cycle time for repairs between weeks to a month. The impact on the quality of life of standpipes prepaid users was said to be positive, for example, because water was perceived to be affordable and more accessible tothe PPWMs system. The impact on the quality of life of PPWMs in Usakos was found to benegative, as customers first need to pay for municipal services before they can purchase water units, high cost in replacing token or meter, no service after municipal’s working hours and limitations in water use.
Additional Citation InformationIipinge, Kornelia N. (2016). An analysis of the impacts of prepaid water meters in three towns in Namibia. (Unpublished Masters Thesis). University of Zimbabwe, Harare.
SubjectPrepaid water meters
Urban water supply
Human right to water
Cost recovery in water supply
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