Saturday, September 26, 2020

Govt Water Sector Reforms project takes shape despite challenges

Government’s project to transfer water supplies in centres around the country named Water Sector Reforms project from Water Affairs to Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) is going ahead with implementation in two villages under Phase 1.

The minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe, announced earlier in the year that areas covered by Water Affairs will transfer to WUC, which is government water parastatal.

WUC Public Relations Officer, Matinda Mmipi, told The Telegraph that two villages around the city – Mogoditshane and Tlokweng – have been covered and bulk supplies to the North East District Council at a cost of P60 million.

Phase II will start on February 2010 and will include a number of villages divided into clusters.

Cluster 1 is Mogoditshane, which includes Mogoditshane, Metsimotlhabe and Gaphatshwa.

Cluster 2 Ramotswa, Taung, Boatle, and Otse. Cluster 3 Oodi. Matebele. Mochudi, Pilane, Rasesa, Malotwana, Modipane.

Cluster 4 Phalapye. Cluster 5 Mathangwane, Shashemooke, Borolong, Chadibe, and Natale.

Cluster 6 Shashe Bridge, Shashe Tonota, Tati Siding, Borotsi, Ditladi, Tonota Mandunyane.

Cluster 7 Mahalapye, Shoshong, and Mmadinare.

Cluster 9 Sowa, Dukwi, Nata.

Cluster 10 Sese and cluster 11, which includes Kasane and Chobe enclave.

WUC revealed that government has so far spent P60 million in a new programme aimed at getting water supply from the Water Affairs to Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) in some villages in Botswana.

Mmipi revealed that the corporation has so far recruited one hundred and sixty eight (168) employees mostly from Water Affairs with the corporation planning to takeover all potable water service delivery in Botswana by 2012.
She said the problems they encountered are for example, the Phase II takeover planned for 1st October and was not achieved and it has since been postponed to the 1st of February 2010.

She also identified challenges in technology compatibility as the various authorities are using different systems for revenue collection and revealed that the team is working on interfacing the systems.

The other challenge is the staff qualifications with some staff not qualified for the new jobs while saying there is an ongoing training to upgrade some of them so that they can gain competencies to help them qualify for, and be able to perform efficiently in the jobs on offer.

The other problem is the slow progress regarding former DWA customers signing Water Supply Agreements with the Water Utilities Corporation and in a bid to solve the problem, the corporation has embarked on a concerted communication campaign to get the Water Supply Agreement.

“The existing infrastructure is largely below standard that the Corporation operates at and there is therefore a need to upgrade infrastructure in the villages that the Corporation is taking over,” explained Mmipi.

Early this year when addressing a kgotla meeting in Mogoditshane to inform the residents about the programme, Kedikilwe said that the government has chosen the idea of making the distribution of water to be wholly the responsibility of Water Utilities whilst the Department of Water Affairs will continue to serve as a provider for the water, for example, by constructing dams in areas suitable for such projects.

He also denied reports by some people that water will become unaffordable for the majority of Batswana in the rural areas saying that, as water is a necessity, government will always make sure that Batswana can afford it where ever they are.

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