98 per cent of the population has access to potable water
31 Mar 2023
President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has made provision of quality potable water his priority. To date, the completion of key water projects in the country has not only reignited hope among Batswana, the projects which have ensured the provision of access to potable clean water has given many new meaning to life.
Recently, during his address at the UN Water Conference in New York, the President said Botswana prioritized the development of water resources and infrastructure as demonstrated by government’s decision to increase the budget for water and sanitary projects.
He said the budget was increased from an average of 16 per cent prior to the 2020/21 financial year to 32 per cent for the past two years.
President Masisi said 98 per cent of the population had access to potable water, 80 per cent has access to at least basic sanitation services and another 10 per cent has access to shared or unimproved sanitation facilities.
Determined to achieve his goal, during the 2019 election campaign, the President said he was frustrated by the 11th Parliament reluctance to secure water for Batswana, and vowed that after re-election, he would re-table the motion.
Parliament back then, just before the elections, rejected the motion to secure funding for various water projects in the country based on allegations of improper awarding of the tender which was awarded to Khato Civils.
It was in his inaugural State of the Nation address on November 2018, that President Masisi explained that through the Botswana Emergency Water Security and Efficiency Project (BEWSE) the intention was to urgently address immediate water challenges through infrastructure development and upgrade, institutional strengthening and sector reforms.
He said 400 000 people stood to benefit and a further 170 000 would benefit from improved wastewater treatment and sludge management systems.
A year later the Masama – Mmamashia 100-kilometre pipeline started and it was commissioned by the President in October 2021, where he reiterated his government’s commitment to delivering water to parts of the country.
The pipeline has added 64 million litres per day and would augment the water supply to Kanye and the Gamononyane – Molepolole pipeline.
In November 2021, the President further performed a ground breaking ceremony of yet another mega project, the Gamononyane – Molepolole water pipeline.
The pipeline, constructed at a cost would serve 15 villages amongst them Molepolole, Lentsweletau, Kopong and Thebephatshwa which currently experience shortages as demand outstrips supply.
Recently, the Chairperson of Kweneng District Council Mr Alan Jacob said the project was going well and expected to be completed in April and on budget.
Still in 2021, the President launched the Lobatse Water Masterplan to the tune of P1 billion.
“Indeed my government is determined to ensure that every Motswana has access to clean water,” he said at the time of the launch. Bobonong, Motlhabaneng, Mathathane, Tsetsebjwe, Mabolwe, Semolale, Gobojango, Lepokole and Molalatau have also been connected to Thune Dam and the project was completed in 2018.
A number of people have welcomed the projects although their main concern was the delay in completion of public projects.
Ms Kerileng Ramuruwana, a street vendor in Molepolole was optimistic, saying at the moment she relied on purchasing water from private bowsers which was expensive.
Her major concern was that her plot was out of the water map and hoped the envisaged water network expansion would include her home.
As for Mr Koketso Tshenyamotse, he was sceptical saying he would rather be the Biblical Thomas saying although the laying of pipelines was visible, it would take time for the project to be completed. Ends
Source : BOPA
Author : Tebagano Ntshole
Location : Gaborone
Event : Interview
Date : 31 Mar 2023