It is disheartening to learn that people in Mogoditshane on the outskirts of Gaborone draw polluted water from an abandoned quarry for domestic use. It would appear this has been going on for many years, which begs the question where are the officials charged with monitoring adherence to regulations by those allocated burrow pits, and quarry mines. Is it that those allocated go into the business to make a quick buck and abandon the site without rehabilitating?
Where are those responsible for providing potable water to the citizenry when members of the public are exposed to unhygienic water sources, like the quarry mentioned elsewhere in this publication? Much as Botswana experiences erratic annual rainfall a well-planned water harvesting initiative we can still collect enough water to be self-sufficient, as suggested by experts. As suggested by an entrepreneur based at Nkoyaphiri-Mogoditshane, starting with households, every house with a roof on is a rain water harvesting facility. If you just stand by your house in any rainy day, you will watch the massive amounts of very clean rain water collected by your house roof drip down the side slopes or gutters channeling this water into the storm water collection trenches which in turn take this water right into the bush. What a natural waste? We agree with the suggestion that therefore authorities should hasten water harvesting efforts by coming up with policies that will make it mandatory for all our building plans to incorporate rain water harvest conservancy tanks. This should start with all government buildings old and new. It should be mandatory for all households to collect their own share of rain water every rain season. Factories and commercial buildings should have underground rain water collection tanks in their parking lots. This should be made standard practice and if all individual households collected say 10,000lts each per rainy season, and factories and other commercial buildings collected on average 50,000lts to 100,000lts we could sustain ourselves in times of severe scarcities like we are currently experiencing.
The other suggestion is for authorities to direct that all storm rain water drainage especially in towns and cities must channel all storm rain water to a special conservancy area. In Gaborone, it is just commonsense that this water should be directed for storage into the Gaborone Dam. Since most of the storm water drainage systems in Gaborone channel the water into Segoditshane River, why not divert this river to Gaborone Dam to increase catchment levels? Every rainy season, our buildings in town collect millions of liters of rain water which is all channeled to the bush by the storm rain water drainage system. Yet we are a generally dry country with erratic rainfall.
The Ministry of Health, Department of Mines, Water Utilities Corporation and all other stakeholders should work together to avert looming public health crisis due to usage of such untreated water, not only in Mogoditshane but all over the country where similar situations may obtain.
Meanwhile the we hope that those responsible will move fast to put out embarrassing developments at the Vision 2016 Council. We can only hope that these developments do not represent what those tasked with developing the new Vision 2036 will deliver. We struggle to count achievements made by the outgoing Vision 2016 and remain hopeful that the task team recently appointed by the president to oversee the development of a new vision 2036 will come up with an implementable strategy to take the country forward.