Batswana may find themselves saddled with huge water bills should government agree to scrap water subsidies as recommended by Botswana Institute of Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) and GY Associates, a British Consultancy Firm specialising in development issues.
A study by the two organisations revealed that Botswana faces increasing water scarcity from the combination of rising demand from urbanisation and declining supply as a result of climate change. “This threatens to undermine the potential for peri-urban agriculture (horticulture in particular) and wildlife tourism to make a sustainable contribution to poverty eradication.
The research team says solutions to these problems have been developed by other countries facing similar pressures. “They lie in managing water demand through pricing that reflects the cost of supply and using innovative ways to improve supply such as rain water harvesting and re-use of treated water.”
The report states that government has recognised these in various policy documents, but an overarching and strategic focus on this issue is “urgently required.”
Indications are that water will be a major game changer in the economy of Botswana. “Availability of waste water and the development of institutions and infrastructure required to distribute such water would contribute highly to economic growth and poverty eradication. Further, when the promotion of this agricultural opportunity occurs, there is need to consider the introduction of land markets to provide incentives for those who have skills and not land in the accessible areas to where waste water is produced to enter the market”, states the report.