17 April 2017

Botswana: Water Supply Remains Challenge

Gaborone — Besides recording bumper rainfall throughout the country recently, Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) water supply is faced with challenges.

Briefing the media about the water supply update last week, WUC's chief executive officer, Mr Mmetla Masire said the biggest challenge the corporation has been battling with has not only been limited to old infrastructure, but also included water losses due to damaged pipes.

"As much as we celebrate the downpours this past rainy season, we must not forget what we have been through.

Therefore, managing water losses should be a priority to both us and the public at large," Mr Masire appealed.

He said it was a known fact that some water was lost through public and institutions standpipes as well as aged infrastructure.

"There is another growing phenomenon of vandalism and third party damage of infrastructure which also results in significant water losses," he added.

Mr Masire said the corporation was undertaking numerous interventions to address the challenges amongst them public awareness and education, and upgrading the water reticulation system for dilapidated networks.

The WUC leader said the corporation was also considering reviewing its operational philosophy and pressure management.

He noted that water restrictions were still in place to ensure the prudent use of the available water so that it lasts until the next rainy season.

The CEO explained that WUC had revised tariffs effective 1st April 2017 pursuant to the policy which stipulates that the corporation would continue to regularly review the tariffs to bring them closer to a cost reflective price.

He said the revision in the 2017/18 tariffs was expected to result in at least a 15 per cent increase in revenue.

Mr Masire said WUC has adopted a tariff structure that encourages water conservation, adding that the corporation continued to maintain tariffs at a basic consumption of (5-10kl) "which was very affordable."

He said the corporation had discontinued the P20 minimum/charge that was applied to all customers regardless of consumption.

The 2016/17 rainy season which officially ended on March 31 was good resulting in significant inflows into most of the dams in the the country.

Gaborone, Bokaa and Nnywane dams in the south are at 97.7, 96.2 and 91.9 per cent full respectively which translates into 30 months, 13 months and 12 months of water supply respectively.

The dams in the north are all 80 per cent full with Dikgatlhong Dam, which is the largest in the country, currently at 99.7 per cent full. BOPA



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