By Mmapula Molapong
In 2009 the Water Utilities Corporation assumed a huge task, undertaking a customer base of 400% more than its original base. This undertaking was due to the water sector reforms programme WSRP, as recommended by the national water master plan review. The WSRP is said to have been completed in 2013. Prior to these reforms water reticulation and waste management were decentralized and were largely done by water affairs under local district councils in the rural areas and water utilities in the towns.
On the alternative view yesterday we asked the question, has this centralization of water worked? This special programme was investigated and compiled by our correspondent and producer, Mmapula Molapong and was brought to you by Setho Poloko Mongatane. Joining Setho in studio was the Water Utilities Corporation CEO, Mmetla Masire, correspondent/producer Mmapula Molapong and the over phone we had Member of Parliament for, Maun East, Konstantinos Markus.
NB: Below is a summary of the special interview as it was done in both Setswana and English. The special broadcast clip is also attached for your appreciation.
Residents in various places have long expressed frustration with the water utility and called for the transfer of water supply back to the Department of Water Affairs.
Producer, Mmapula Molapong had recently visited two villages, Kanye and Moshupa, where residents noted that they have experienced erratic supply of water for the past two years.
Most residents said they were in the dark about the cause of the problem and complained that there is never consultation from Water Utilities.
Moshupa residents were also not happy with the water shortage in their village and pointed fingers at Water Utilities Corporation for dragging their feet and blaming them for not acting efficiently when they report pipe bursts amongst other complaints.
Give Us Water-Molepolole campaign movement also expressed disappointment on the water crisis in their area.
In an interview with the spokesperson for the movement, Aupa Koosaletse said the situation changed shortly after they petitioned Water Utilities Corporation but later regressed.
He said water bowsers are now dry and that the water bowsers that the minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services had asked Water Utilities Corporation to install have still not been installed.
Give Us Water Campaign movement is a group of people who advocate for reliable, quality drinking water for the Molepolole community by engaging the relevant stakeholders. Their mandate is to mediate between the community members and the authorities that are mandated to provide one of the basic human needs “water.”
During the special interview the the Water Utilities Corporation WUC CEO, Mmetla Masire promised a turnaround in the water situation across the country in the next two to three years following public outcry about water supply and quality, especially in the Maun area.
The Water Utilities Corporation has assured Maun residents that their water is safe for drinking despite its discolouration.
The corporation’s Water Works Superintendent in Maun, Molaodi Dikgang, has said that the discoloured water does not necessarily mean that it is contaminated.
The minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo revealed during the budget speech in February this year that a significant portion of the proposed Development Budget of P3.29 billion or 17.0 percent, being the largest share, is proposed for the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services to support initiatives aimed at improving availability of water supply, as well as wastewater and sludge management. The water projects account for P2.51 billion or 77 percent of the Ministry’s allocation. The main projects implemented are the North South Carrier 2 from Palapye ÔÇô Mmamashia – Gaborone at P647.29 million, which is meant to provide adequate water to the southern part of Botswana, as well as the Botswana Emergency Water Security and Efficiency project funded through the recently approved loan of USD145.50 million from the World Bank. Water Utilities Corporation has been allocated an amount of P562.00 million to cover operational costs and restructuring of the Corporation. The remaining 23 percent of the Ministry budget goes towards land projects, particularly land servicing countrywide.