There is no doubt that Botswana faces severe water challenges. The current water demand in Botswana for the various sectors of the economy stand at 221 million cubic meters per annum.
However, only 218 Million cubic meters per annum is currently committed for use. By the year 2016 Botswana will require 225 million cubic meters per annum to stimulate growth in various sectors of the economy.
Botswana embarked on a water sector reform project 2008 ÔÇô 2013 that resulted in the country’s water supply and sanitation services being transferred from local government and Department of Water Affairs (DWA) to Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) entailing over 540 villages and settlements. Within the framework of the reforms, in order to significantly upgrade and extend water and wastewater infrastructure, WUC’s capital program rose from P3 Billion to P7 Billion.
Speaking at the SADC Water Week last week, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources- Programmes Management Office, Thatayaone Dedede said government has come up with strategies of infrastructure development, water conservation and demand management (WC&WDM) and institutional restructuring.
Between 2005 and 2015, infrastructure development included construction of major dams like Dikgatlhong, Lotsane and Thune, development of major well-fields such as Botlhapatlou, Bobonong, Malwelwe, and Masama as well as construction of strategic pipelines (North South Carrier pipelines- NSC). Also included were wastewater re-use, expansions and rehabilitation of water networks, installation of disinfection systems to improve water quality increase of storage capacities, and construction of wastewater treatment facilities and major refurbishment of existing ones.
Dedede further mentioned that within the framework of the regional initiatives, as a way of increasing water resources and exercising our national rights, Botswana has negotiated to utilize shared water resources for her economic development and livelihood improvement.
“Some of the notable projects include the planned 495 Million Cubic Metres of water per annum withdrawal from Chobe/Zambezi for agro-commercial project; the water supply from South Africa to the five Middle Pits cluster villages and provision of additional water from Lesotho Highlands,” he said.
In implementing the WC&WDM strategy and fulfilling Botswana’s commitment to the world agenda on sustainable development, the country recently developed an Integrated Water Resources Management/Water Efficiency (IWRM/WE) Plan in May 2013. The plan is about improvement of people’s livelihoods and welfare, as well as contributing to sustained economic growth, economic diversification, social justice and poverty eradication through efficient, equitable and sustainable water resources development and management to all sectors of economy.