Gumare — The Department of Water and Sanitation is planning to introduce a levy for raw or untreated water from surface sources such as rivers, lakes and dams.
Speaking at a stakeholder consultative workshop in Gumare recently, project sociologist Ms Rosinah Rakgoasi said the objective was to develop an informative raw water abstraction and pricing strategy for all forms of raw water excluding that from outside the country.
It was revealed that a study on raw water abstraction and pricing strategy was already underway conducted by Newtech Consulting Group and ACE-GIBB.
Ms Rakgoasi said the strategy was meant to use water charging as a demand and management tool as well as to manage issues of equitable and reasonable utilisation.
Another reason, she said, was to sustain water resources management funding.
Ms Rakgoasi said another objective for the introduction of the levy was to conduct an assessment for establishment of an endowment fund for water resources management.
She noted that water was a finite and valuable resource that needed to be allocated and used efficiently for the benefit of current and future generations.
Botswana, she said, was guided by the 1968 Water Act in the allocation of water resources.
Priorities for granting water rights included basic human need, environmental requirements, energy generation and food security among others, she said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Okavango Sub-district deputy commissioner, Mr Thabang Waloka said the proposed levy should not be standardised but should be charged according to purpose.
"Watering animals can not be charged the same as construction projects. Farmers can not be charged like mines," he said.
Mr Waloka also said such a levy should strictly be used for water development purposes.
Nokaneng Sub-land Board secretary, Mr Balakidzi Nduna supported the idea of raw water levy, noting that the funds could be used to clean water sources such as the Okavango Delta.
Northwest Horticultural Growers Association chairperson, Mr Benny Marundu was however skeptical about the raw water abstraction and pricing strategy.
He said the levy might trigger a hike in farm produce prices in the process disadvantaging consumers.
Mr Marundu therefore suggested an exemption for the horticulture sector.
Source : BOPA