Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) CEO Mmetla Masire says they are well on track to cutting down debt.
Masire was addressing the media on Thursday morning concerning the water supply situation in Botswana following the end of the 2017/2018 rainy season.
Masire said they have been able to reduce the debt from a billion Pula at the beginning of the year to around P700 million.
Since the official rainy season has ended, Masire said the season was generally a success rain-wise, as has been projected by the Department of Meteorological Services.
“Most parts of the country particularly those that are within our dams’ catchment areas recorded normal to above rainfalls resulting in most of our dams impounding, although the impact on Gaborone and Molatedi Dams was very small,” said WUC chief executive.
All the nine major dams in the country – Gaborone, Letsibogo, Shashe, Dikgatlhong, Thune, Nnywane and Bokaa – reached a plus 65 percent capacity. The total water under storage for all the dams stood at 911.9 mcm as opposed to 1020.9 mcm at the same time period last year.
Masire said this translates to an average of 82.4 percent of water under storage while at the same time last year it was 92.2 percent. The amount of rainfall recorded in early 2017 and early 2018, is said to have contributed to current satisfactory dam levels, mainly northern dams.
“Collectively all dams will take us a year, to more than a year, without any inflow at current usage or consumption rates,” Masire said.
The biggest dam in the country, Dikgatlhong Dam, is currently 97.8 percent full and can go for 24 months of supply without inflow as opposed to 96.9 percent levels at the same period last year.
Having reached full levels last year during the Cyclone Dineo, the Gaborone Dam as of this week stood at 79.4 percent when compared with 94.7 percent during the same period last year.
All other dams were this week above 60 percent, except Molatedi Dam which is in South Africa but supplies WUC.
Despite all dams being on satisfactory levels, Masire said the corporation would not reverse the water restrictions that we imposed at the height of the water shortage.
Due to unreliable rainfall and change in climate patterns, Masire said WUC would live to regret such decision should it do away with the restrictions currently in place. He therefore advised consumers to continue using water wisely as it has been seen before when dams were drying up.
The whole country is mostly served with water from the northern-based dams that supply villages and towns along the North South Carrier Scheme I (NSC I) from Dikgatlhong and Letsibogo Dams as Greater Gaborone area.
However, since the beginning of 2018 the NSC has been shut down thrice due to maintenance works that included connecting new pump station at Mmamabula and associated break pressure tanks for enhanced water supply.
The first shutdown was made to allow connection of Masama West to the pipeline while the second and third were meant to connect pump station 4.1 and its associate installations.
“The works undertaken will increase throughout to Mmamashia Treatment Plant from the 63 mega litres per day to about 100 mega litres per day,” explained Masire, adding that the construction of pump station number 4.1 and Masama injections are complete and are now undergoing commissioning.
Masire said the remaining two old NSC pump stations – one and two – are being refurbished to restore their original design capability and reliability and are expected to be completed towards the end of 2019.
Though he said the dawn of 2018 brought rains that left dams on good levels, Masire said water supply challenges are still felt in some areas due to limited recharge rates coupled with deficient boreholes operational systems and over-abstraction which significantly reduces groundwater levels.