Water Challenges Cause for Concern

| November 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

Government continues to face significant challenges, as well as opportunities under the water resources, President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama has said.

When delivering the State-of-the Nation Address yesterday, President Khama said there was thus an absolute need for the nation to carefully manage the limited water resource to ensure optimal, equitable and sustainable utilisation.

“While we remain on target towards achieving near universal access by 2016, we appreciate the fact that, being a semi-arid country, water shall continue to be a relatively scarce and therefore precious resource,” he said.

Government’s efforts to maintain water supply security, he said were further challenged by recurring drought, and, to address this challenge, he said the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) had introduced water restrictions and rationing in order to reduce water demand.

Furthermore, he said government had availed a budget of P470 million for drought mitigation projects, including the upgrading and refurbishment of boreholes and the expansion of treatment plant capacity. So far, he said P338 million worth of projects were at various stages of implementation.

President Khama said government was also working on associated infrastructure for supplying water from the newly built Dikgatlhong, Lotsane and Thune dams.

Earlier this year, he said a 75 km water pipeline from Dikgatlhong Dam to Moralane was completed at a cost of P1.3 billion, whilst the North South Carrier 2 pipeline to Palapye was still under construction.

Additionally, he said government also continued to prioritise trans-boundary cooperation under the auspices of the SADC Protocol on shared watercourses, where its efforts continued to bear fruit. He added that that the Middlepits cluster villages project for the transfer of potable water from South Africa had also been completed.

A feasibility study of the Lesotho Highlands project, President Khama said should also be completed next year, which would potentially allow the three countries participating in the project, namely Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa, to take the project forward.

The Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM), which was launched in July 2014, he said was currently home to all the dams that the country relies on for water supply.

For that reason, he said having LIMCOM as a functional platform to discuss and agree on management and utilisation of the Limpopo basin was critical. Government, President Khama said, remained committed to ultimately drawing about 495 Million Cubic Metres of water per annum from the ChobeZambezi River system.

This share of water, he said would initially be used for the planned Zambezi Integrated Agro-Commercial Development Project at Pandamatenga. This resource, he said was expected to play a key role in meeting the post 2025 demand in the longer term.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

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