Water meters stolen all over the city
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
According to information from SAPASMA (System of Potable Water and Drainage), six water meters were stolen in a single afternoon on the same street. Director Francisco Jiménez said that there are previous inquiries against those responsible and that to discourage theft of the devices they are replacing them with water meters made of plastic or tiles.
SAPASMA daily provides water to more than 60,000 sanmiguelenses in the urban area and has more than 25,000 water hydrants, each equipped with a water meter in order to charge not for the water but for the service provided by SAPASMA. The water meters are made of bronze, a material that has begun to attract thieves, who steal and sell the meters to recycling companies.
What is SAPASMA doing about the thefts?
Jiménez commented that through their legal department they have visited recycling companies in San Miguel to let them know that if they are buying the devices they are committing a felony that will be investigated by the District Attorney’s Office, which is already investigating suspected thieves. Although he does not know the amount that the delinquents receive from the companies when they sell the devices, he commented that the water meters do not belong to residents, but to SAPASMA. “The users just have it in bailment, so if the device is stolen, they have to pay for a new one at a cost of about 450 pesos, and for that reason, they must take care of them,” said Jiménez. The director said that they have already replaced approximately 5,000 meters made of bronze with those made of plastic or tiles.
Although the robberies have occurred mainly in neighborhoods such as Colonia Olimpo or Ejido de Tirado, they have occurred across the urban area, and for that reason Jiménez suggested that meters should be protected with metallic bars or placed in niches. He said that the water meters cannot be placed within the house because when they need to read the meter often the residents are not at home, and if they make an estimate of usage most of the time it is very high and problems with the payment emerge.