Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Ntimbale Dam tourism prospects give North East District glimmer of hope

Residents of North East District will soon benefit from tourism brought by Ntimbale Dam as its tourism preparation master plan is currently being worked on.

The revelation was made by the North East District Chairperson Flora Mpetsane during a full council meeting in Masunga last week.

Mpetsane said this is in line with Botswana Tourism Organization’s mandate to diversify Botswana’s tourism offering both geographically and product wise as well as to facilitate tourism in different areas “Botswana Tourism Organization is implementing the dams’ tourism initiative which entails preparation of tourism master plans. Botswana Tourism Organization is implementing the dams’ tourism initiative which entails preparation of tourism master plans for major dams across the country and implementation of the plan proposals,” she said.

Tourism is an increasingly important industry sector in Botswana’s economy accounting for almost 12 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Ntimbale Dam which cost government over P200 million when constructed, has a capacity of 26 000 000 cubic metres. It currently services over 51 villages in the North East District. The dam was commissioned by President Lt Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama in 2008.

Mpetsane said it was pleasing to note that to this end tourism master plans of Thune, Letsibogo and Shashe have been completed which gave them a lot of hope with regard to Ntimbale Dam. She revealed that the government has since approved and set aside some funds for the development of a tourism at Ntimbale and added that the preparations of the master plan will start this financial year.

“The project has in earnest commenced, with a preliminary dam perimeter reconnaissance by BTO, Water Utilities Corporation and Tati Landboard during the first week of November 2017. Furthermore the leadership of the eight villages around the dam corridor being Gulubane, Masingwaneng, Mambo, Matenge, Toteng and Botalaote were briefed about the intended master plan development,” she said.

In addition, Mpetsane explained that BTO is currently working on appointing a consultant to undertake preparation of the Ntimbale Tourism Master Plan. She made it clear that consultations will be carried out by the consultant after appointment. Among some of the important issues she said North East District which has been plagued by shortages of water over the years has been stable since September 2017 as there were no interruptions of water supply to villages particularly Jackalas 1 and Senyawe villages.

“WUC has since stationed a bowser dedicated to the area and provided Jojo tanks to ease the water supply situation at the respective villages. Currently water levels for dams within the district stands as follows, Dikgatlhong 87.1 percent, Ntimbale 80.8 percent and Shashe  at 78.3 percent respectively,” she said.

She was happy with the dam levels saying that the dams will be able to supply downstream customers for a minimum of 24, 15 and 20 months respectively. Furthermore, she said the long term water supply challenges in Tati East Constituency will only be addressed through implementation of the pending North East District and Tutume Sub District(NEDTSD) water supply scheme project. Mpetsane said environmental impact assessment, design review, tender documentation and construction has been appointed.

“Construction phase of the project was scheduled to commence on August 2017. In the short term, WUC is in the process of equipping several high yielding boreholes across the district to augment deficit supply realized from Ntimbale Dam,” added Mpetsane.

On private water connections she revealed that as at October 2017, it stands at 249. She explained that there was an insignificant increase in backlog from 248 of last quarter mainly due to high number of new connection requests (233) against total connection of 198 over the same period. She said WUC has since engaged casual laborers to expedite connection turnaround time. Touching on Water Supply Development projects Mpetsane said installation of a standby generator set at Ntimbale Dam Pump station was completed in September 2017.

“The project is now under Defects Liability Period. This means that all critical facilities, being Ntimbale Dam Pump Station, Masingwaneng Water Treatment Plant and Mbalambi Pump Station are now equipped with backup power. Power supply interruptions will cease being a factor on water supply interruptions,” she said.

She further said that Environmental Impact Assessment for North East District and Tutume Sub District is on-going and planned for completion in April 2018. She said Design Review, Tender Documentation and Project Supervision for the project was awarded to ACE GIB(Pty) Ltd Consulting Engineers in August 2017. Construction works are expected to commence in August 2018.

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