Botswana: Costs for Boatle Plant Escalate

The Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) are hoping that they will not at a later stage perhaps clash with a contractor engaged for the Boatle Water Treatment Plant project in Ramotswa Constituency over possible losses the company may have encountered during the time the project was halted.

The contractor, Modern UTS-CPP Botswana is said to have previously suffered from the impact of lack of funding for the project. Because of that the contractor then reportedly had to demobilise for quite a long time something which was reportedly costly for the company. WUC Chief Executive Officer, Gaselemogwe Senai this week revealed that they haven't yet resolved the issue with the contractor. "Although we have not yet resolved the issue but I am hoping and trusting that will not be a problem in this instance because there is where the company will also take liability for," Senai said in Boatle on Tuesday during a media tour of the project that is finally almost complete.

According to him, at one point they had actually thought the contractor would demand charges of standing time. Efforts to get a comment from representatives of the company has not been successful. It took almost four years to deliver the project which was initially supposed to have been constructed and finished in a period of 12 months.

The P74 million project which is primarily intended to augment water supply into Ramotswa and surrounding areas including Boatle will finally at last be launched this month after so many years of delay. According to Senai, the project was delayed as a result of different factors including shortage of funding as well as additional components made to its original design. The reverse osmosis plant was designed in way that it does not have too much water coming out as a reject. The CEO explained that they had to add additional components to the plant so that they recover 97% of water coming from the well-fields as compared to only 75% they were to recover from its original design.

"The plant is very costly because it uses a lot of electricity so the more you recover water from it the better, on top of that the resource is also limited so you can not draw it and lose a lot of it again," Senai noted explaining that the variations let to time overruns of the project.

Other factors that delayed completion of the project according to him included the destructions made by Cyclone Dineo in 2016 which he said destroyed roofing of the plant. "Because that included a long process of insurance the plant was put on hold and the situation was further exacerbated by shortage of funding," he added.

According to the CEO, the original cost of the project was at about P62 million but due to the variations that costed about P12 million the new project costs increased to about P74 million.

Meanwhile Ramotswa Member of Parliament Lefoko Moagi has lamented that his constituents have long waited for the project to be completed complaining about serious shortage of water in the area. For his part Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services Minister, Kefentse Mzwinila also stressed that commissioning of the plant will reduce water shortage in the area. The Minister added that another project that will also help address the problem is the Lobatse Master Plan which he said is currently at a procurement stage.

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