It is the last thing you would expect to hear coming from a minister in charge of three very scarce resources but according to the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila, water-stressed Botswana is floating on a sea of water.
“There is a lot of underground water. There is the salty one and the one that is not salty,” he told parliament last week.
Having looked skywards for too long and in vain, the minister has now cast his eyes downwards with a lot of hope. This past Thursday he had a meeting with members of the Ground Water Association of Botswana whom he wants to help the government find any kind of water across the country.
“I have asked the Ground Water Association of Botswana to assist us in all boreholes because we want to find where there is water in the whole country, be it potable water or salty water. We want to mix it and have many boreholes that can water various villages,” said Mokaila adding that he will report to cabinet about the outcome of this meeting in two weeks. “Thereafter, I will find out if I have funds or I will require surplus so that I can go and carry out my job where I am supposed to.”
One place where the minister is definitely supposed to is Khudumelapye in Kweneng West where according to the area MP, Ngaka Ngaka, residents have long been waiting for the connection of the village to the Sorilatholo Water Treatment Plant which is 21 kilometres away. The Khudumelapye borehole is not producing enough water and that meager yield has to be augmented with supplies that are delivered in bowsers on a regular basis. The MP asked the same question last year but the issue predates the start of his term in 2014.
“Minister, this issue dates as far back as 2013 and up to now the Khudumelapye residents do not have water. I ask this question every year, I am given an answer but nothing gets done,” Ngaka said.
While Mokaila wouldn’t commit to a time frame of when the village’s water shortage problem would be solved, he admitted that the government has generally not had a firm handle on the issue.
“One mistake that we have been making is that we would go around digging boreholes whereas we know that the water there would not be enough; at the end we lose. The solutions that we are bringing are expected to be the long term ones. I hope the Honourable Member wants a permanent solution. This is why I was talking about the Ground Water Association. There is a lot of underground water,” he said.