Botswana: World Bank Loan to Help Address Water Challenges

Gaborone — Government has secured a World Bank loan worth P1.4 billion to improve water supply in some areas.

Minister of Lands, Water and Sanitation Services, Mr Kefentse Mzwinila said the money would also be used to increase efficiency of Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) and strengthen wastewater management in selected systems.

Mr Mzwinila said this in Gaborone when giving an update on the Botswana Emergency Water Security and Efficiency (BEWSE) project progress.

The project, he said, targeted areas that had long suffered from prolonged drought or water shortages as well as three priority investments on waste water treatment plants that were in need of rehabilitation.

Minister Mzwinila pointed out that the project was planned under ambitious implementation timelines.

Since July 2017, both the bank and government team had been working to overcome identified implementation challenges and bottlenecks, said Mr Mzwinila.

He further explained that the project had three components of improving availability of water supply and efficiency of services, improving wastewater and sludge management as well as sector reform and institutional strengthening.

Mr Mzwinila added that in the first component, 10 of the 12 water supply projects were still in procurement for design review or design and build/design, supply and install phase with six of these in the evaluation stage: North East, Boteti, Mosu, Malwelwe, Mathethe and Francistown.

Furthermore, he said the safeguards were delaying the procurement process for three projects in Selebi Phikwe, Kuke and Bere. "These are the environmental and social impact analysis issues," he said.

The project second component of waste and sludge management, he explained, entailed rehabilitation or refurbishment of three wastewater treatment plants; Mambo, Letlhakane and Lobatse.

"Mambo project is half way through the feasibility phase. Letlhakane Feasibility has now commenced and Lobatse is awarded the contract and feasibility will commence in February 2020," Mr Mzwinila said.

The third component would cover institutional strengthening and capacity building.

In addition, the minister highlighted that the water demand status in the country stood at 245cubic meters per year, whilst the supply status was at 225cubic millimeters per year (8. 2 per cent deficit).

"However, it is worth noting that on average the country experiences an average of 40 per cent water losses thereby the actual supply is 135Mm cubic per year. This means that the actual deficit is 110 cubic millimeters per year," Mr Mzwinila said.

Source : BOPA

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