Friday, October 23, 2020

Mokaila says deal to source water from Lesotho is still on

Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Kitso Mokaila this week reassured the House of Chiefs that the water supply deal through which Botswana would source water from Lesotho is still valid and underway. Responding to a question from Kgosi David Toto during the on-going session of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, Mokaila said: “The project is still on-going. Last December we meet with our counterparts to discuss the project and we are confident that it will take off soon.”

He added that the project is expected to boost water supplies to Botswana, especially the southern region including Tsabong. The project will see Botswana sourcing water from Lesotho through South Africa by tapping into the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. A delegation from Botswana met their counterparts from Lesotho last year December. Just like other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Botswana is experiencing severe shortages due to poor rains, with the southern region the hardest hit. 

“The water shortage problems in Tsabong arise from inadequacies in the distribution system and frequent borehole breakdowns due to prolonged pumping. Some residents use the water for their livestock which results in some parts of the village not receiving water especially during peak hours,” explained Mokaila.

He further said to address the problem in the short term; Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) has engaged a mechanic who provides immediate response to any breakdown that may occur. Mokaila said the borehole equipments also got worn out over time as government was unable to purchase new equipment because of inadequate finances. 

“WUC is also running short of mechanics,” he said.

Member states of the Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM), Botswana, South Africa and Lesotho can benefit from utilization of the common river as per the SADC protocol which promotes a forum of consultation and coordination between the states for integrated water resources management and development. Through the same noble gesture, Botswana is sharing water resources from Molatedi dam in South Africa.

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