When the dams run dry

| June 25, 2013

The Greater Gaborone region has no water. As scary as this sounds, Gaborone dam presently has enough water to last for only 10 months.

Government officials ranging from Members of Parliament to tribal leaders from the surrounding areas, as well as the media this week witnessed first hand what Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) has been saying all along during a tour of Gaborone and Bokaa dams. The Greater Gaborone region comprises Gaborone, Molepolole, Lobatse, Ramotswa, Mogodisthane, as well as Tlokweng and Mochudi. Gaborone Dam is now a shadow of itself.

The deafening silence as the delegation looked in shock and disbelief at the last drops of the dam was only broken by the whirling sound of the unfriendly wind. The water levels are so low that rocks are lazily sprawled all over the dam. The yellow ruler that stands among the concrete monitors in the middle of the dam to check the water level hangs loosely without any water covering it. Worse still, the seven holes that cover this concrete monitor have all been opened.

The Bokaa dam is also in a bad state. It has water that will last for five months only, again depending on whether the public will heed calls for water conservation from the authorities. The Nnywane dam failed to catch any water during this rainy season.

According to Joel Selemogwe, the Water Resources Manager at WUC, dams in the south of Botswana – Gaborone, Bokaa and Nnywane – have been experiencing marginal flows. So serious is the water crisis that the authorities have resorted to rationing water in the affected areas to control supply. “Gaborone dam is at 23% full at the moment. It is rare and drastic. The water can only last for 10 months,” he summed up the situation. He made an impassioned public plea for residents to take water conservation calls seriously. He said the Molatedi dam, which also supplies Gaborone Dam, is also not in a good position. The dam that has capacity to hold 7.3 million cubic litres of water per annum only supplies Gaborone Dam when it is at 26% full. At the moment it is standing at 27%. And once it reaches below 26%, its water supply to Gaborone Dam will be halved.

For his part, the CEO of WUC Godfrey Mudanga disclosed that they were looking at other options in order to remedy the situation. One of these solutions is getting water from dams in the north through the North South Water Carrier (NSC) pipeline. He also said there are a number of boreholes situated in Ramotswa that will be rehabilitated to ease the scarcity of water in the surrounding areas.

Other plans include rehabilitating used water at WUC’s plant at Glen Valley. Regarding used water rehabilitation, he said the greatest challenge at the moment is changing the mindset of the public in order to buy into the idea.

 

 

 

Category: News

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