Project to Tackle Water Challenges

| May 7, 2015

The waste water project, which was done through a tripartite partnership between the European Union (EU), Genk and Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) will go a long way in helping Botswana to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

EU Ambassador to Botswana, Mr Alexander Baum, said at the official closure of the sanitation project in Francistown on May 5 that the project was relevant in reducing by 50 per cent the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.

He said on a global scale, millions of people died each year from diseases related to unsafe water or lack of access to water. He noted that access to safe and clean water and basic sanitation is an essential dimension for eradicating poverty.

“Frequent drought spells experienced by Botswana necessitate the adoption of measures for effective governance and management of water resources as well as capacity to maintain water supply infrastructure once installed,” he said.

Mr Baum said with the recognition that there were challenges around the governance and management of water resources as well as maintenance of water infrastructure in Botswana, he is hopeful that the project laid a solid foundation for water sanitation particularly in terms of capacity building for services to manage infrastructure.

“This may ultimately help Botswana to cope with the perpetual water stress challenges, but also with dealing with the changing and unpredictable rainfall and water scarcity arising from the climate change as fully treated water can be reused for various purposes,” he said.

He observed that Botswana has a fragile environment and the importance of avoiding water based pollution cannot be over-emphasised.

Mr Baum said the project will have lasting positive effect as it provided WUC with technical knowledge to run its waste water treatment plants more effectively.

WUC deputy chief executive officer (CEO), Mr Nginani Mbayi said the project will help his corporation to produce better effluent against more sustainable costs at larger Waste-water Treatment Plants (WWTPs) and increase availability of pumping stations for waste-water system.

Mr Mbayi said through the partnership, WUC technicians and other personnel were trained in maintenance and operation of pumping stations in Francistown.

He noted that there were challenges faced in the implementation of the project such as lack of a dedicated budget to address faults identified in operation of the plant.

Furthermore, he said recommendations proposed by the contractor were not always implemented due to unhealthy financial position as the waste-water was not properly budgeted for.

Francistown Mayor, Ms Sylvia Muzila said the twinning between Genk and Francistown, which dates back to 2004, has the exchange of expertise in technical services in waste water treatment as one of the areas of cooperation.

She said though the completion of the project marked the closure of the agreement in water sanitation sector, other areas of agreement such as exchange of expertise in health care and others will continue. The waste-water project, which was implemented in June 2012, was done by Aquafin, a company from Belgium.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

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