|Orange Farm Water Crisis
Prepaid Water Meters
Images by Friction Films and Isblack Crew
Leaflet distributed at a public meeting in Orange Farm township, Johannesburg, South Aftica, September 2002:
ORANGE FARM WATER AND ELECTRICITY CRISIS COMMITTEE
We the community Orange Farm reject
the installation of prepaid water meters.
prepaid water meters are not in the interest of the community.
10 reasons why we reject a prepaid water service:
prepaid meter is a municipal solution to reduce arrears.
makes access to water an individual and community responsibility
when it is the local authorities who are supposed to be responsible.
a prepaid meter you have to pay upfront for water before you can use
it. The one-month's grace period has been removed. Homes with more
than one prepaid system will need to pay for all the prepaid
services way before they use them.
this way the municipality can both limit how much water you use and
have you use only what you pay for.
a prepaid system money equals access, it is not how much water you
need, it is how much you can afford. They have a fancy way of
explaining this “budgeting, managing your money better”. No
money equals no water. The meter will cut-off your water supply when
there are no more units.
cannot go to the council or ask them to reconnect or even negotiate
payment in stages. According to the council you are responsible for
your own supply. So when you don't have money you cut yourself off.
They call this a “self-inflicting” cut-offs.
cannot negotiate with a meter in instances where for some reason
your personal circumstances change, you have visitors, or there is a
funeral or wedding or you are on short time or retrenched. You
cannot negotiate payment or ask for grace like you do with the
municipality. It's payment upfront or water cut-offs.
municipality talks about emergency water, emergency water does not
mean access to water in emergencies. It means a few litres on
credit. Don't be fooled. They will trick you in the beginning by
presenting emergency water as water on credit to prevent you from
experiencing the harsh reality of self-inflicted cut-offs. Once you
accept the meters they can change the terms and by then it will be
this system the strategy of non-payments or with-holding payments in
instances where the community is dissatisfied with the council's
service is taken away. If you don't pay you don't have access under
a prepaid system and in the case of water, you can't live without
also means that the council will be able to increase the tariffs for
the service as they please and the communities will have no tool to
resist them. You will be forced to use less and less water.
are not in the interest of poor communities, it is a municipal
solution to a municipal problem. We do not accept a prepaid water
NO! to prepaid meters! We won't allow the municipality to shrug their
responsibilities towards community!