The prevailing water shortage in the country is aggravated by increasing pollution risks to water resources due to poor sanitation.
Officiating at the fifth Water Pitso this week, the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Mr Kitso Mokaila, said groundwater resources were being depleted unless sustainable interventions could be undertaken.
In view of the multiplicity of the water challenges, he said there was need for all stakeholders to re-strategise and find more innovative solutions to tackle the challenges.
“Perhaps we need to enhance our stakeholder participation in the implementation of our water management initiatives,” he said. The Water Pitso was under the theme Sustainable Interventions to Address Botswana Water Challenges in Partnership with Stakeholders.
Minister Mokaila said through the theme, government undoubtedly underscored that the solution lied on sharing knowledge, leveraging and mobilising all available resources.
During NDP 10, Minister Mokaila noted, the water sector embarked on various strategies aimed at providing good quality water in an equitable and sustainable manner for different purposes.
So far, he said, his ministry had developed a Draft National Water and Wastewater Policy that provided direction for water resources planning, development and management of water resources. The policy was yet to be debated by Parliament.
“Another development is the Botswana Energy and Water Regulator which is still going through various stages of governance review,” he said.
Mr Mokaila said taking into consideration the declining water resources and increasing demand for water there was urgent need to judicious account for every drop that is available in the country.
He explained that his ministry was implementing a project on Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystems (WAVES) partnership programme and to date its phases one and two had been completed. “The outputs from the project will assist the government to better manage its scarce resources.”
The minister said the water sector also identified the need to develop robust infrastructure to enable effective and efficient use of the scarce water resources. He cited that some of the notable infrastructure includes the construction of Dikgatlhong, Lotsane and Thune dams, the construction of water transfer schemes such as the Chobe Zambezi and the rehabilitation of some well fields such as Masama and Ramotswa.
He said as ways of continuously improving the delivery of water and water waste services efforts are being made in expanding water networks, installing disinfection systems to improve water quality, increasing storage capacities and constructing wastewater treatment facilities and major refurbishing existing ones.
“The government is committed to provide funding to ongoing water supply projects amounting to P430 million during the plan period 201516 as part of the National Water Supply Bridging Gap Programme,” he said.
Mr Mokaila said the water sector continues to exploit alternative water resources such as effluent utilisation, grey water recycling and rain water harvesting. “This will intensify the promotion of water conservation and water demand management measures and practices and hence close water loop,” said the minister.
Source : BOPA
Source : Botswana Daily News