The Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Onkokame Kitso Mokaila, on Friday launched and hosted a ground breaking ceremony for the upgrading of the Gaborone sewerage reticulation project, which subsequently will incorporate the abolition of pit latrines from the city.
The unveiling of the project took place in Tsholofelo Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA) location, Extension 27.
The project marks a new standard in the sanitation infrastructure development of Gaborone, which is the first ever project in the country, in terms of magnitude and complexity. It was a project initiative of the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT) through the Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control (DWMPC).
Mokaila told the Sunday Standard that the aim of the project is to expand and greatly improve the sanitation status of households and businesses in and around the Gaborone area.
“This will subsequently reduce the risk of diseases related to poor sanitation and environmental pollution,” he told those in attendance.
Mokaila said that there is need for the Gaborone Sewerage infrastructure to cope with the huge sewage return flows.
“The Gaborone sewerage infrastructure development started with a small centralized sewer network at independence. The planning for sanitation infrastructure in Gaborone at that time, envisaged a small town catering for a total population of 3,855 people,” he said, adding that, as the population grew, the number of sewage ponds was increased, with the unprecedented rapid growth of Gaborone.
Mokaila added that the fast growing industries exacerbated the situation.
Currently there are more than 220, 000 people living in Gaborone and approximately another 120,000 in the surrounding areas of Mogoditshane, Tlokweng and Phakalane. Consequently, this shows that the combined sewage returns have now exceeded the capacity of the treatment plant.
Government, as a measure of addressing the situation, allowed the MEWT to go beyond the initial budget, making it first priority because of the importance attached to it.
Mokaila told Sunday Standard that the estimated cost of the project runs well over a billion pula. The construction period will last for 3 years, which includes the construction of a network of sewer pipes in the main SHHA areas, expansion of primary sewer pipes and sewerage pump lifting stations.
“The current Gaborone Sewerage Treatment plant has a capacity of 40 mega liters per day but has already been exceeded. We are currently expanding this plant by a further 25 mega liters per day ahead of the anticipated new connections from the SHHA areas.”
The Minister also highlighted that, as part of the project, another 25 mega liters per day capacity is to be constructed, entailing a total capacity of 90 mega liters per day to the system. He said that the government is also diligent in providing potable water, stating that the project could ensure that “for every water supply scheme; there is a corresponding wastewater treatment facility that ensures best quality effluent for specified use”.
The mayor of Gaborone said that the project launch was “long awaited”, adding that the sanitation in Gaborone has always left much to be desired, especially as it is the capital city.