Business Botswana President, Lekwalo Mosienyane has condemned government for failing investors and the business community on the water situation by failing to plan ahead. Speaking on the side-lines of the State of the Nation (SONA)address by President Ian Khama on Monday Mosienyane told this publication that as logic would dictate, lack of water has negatively affected business in Botswana. “While some of our members are having it bad business-wise, some didn’t have an option but to close shop,” said Mosienyane.
While Khama outlined several aspects and strategies in which government want to remedy the water crisis, Mosienyane argues that all this would not have been necessary had the government planned ahead to cater for rainy days like the current situation. Mosienyane argues that despite the obvious fact that Botswana is an arid country, the current water situation was worsened by lack of planning on the part of government. “I am aware of current government efforts , and I must say they are long overdue, “ he said.
According to Mosienyane, the same problems faced by the country as far as power supply is concerned could have been averted had proper planning and implementation been adhered to by government. He asserted that it was high time government trust the private sector to take lead in the implementation and execution of national big projects like those of power supply. “Project management and implementation should be left to the private sector, the government's role should be to monitor and evaluate,” he said.
Mosienyane said government should have taken leaf from successful projects in the private sector, like the Jwaneng Mine Cut 8 project, which he said despite its size and magnitude, the private sector managed to execute and deliver on time. Meanwhile in the 2015 SONA Khama said government has availed a budget for emergency projects, network extensions, groundwater investigations and the expansion/installation of water treatment plant capacity. “ Altogether, more than P1 billion worth of projects are at various stages of implementation.
With the completion of the Dikgatlhong, Lotsane and Thune dams, our efforts have shifted to associated infrastructure,” he said, adding that securing domestic water needs through better management and increased conservation as well as expanded supply will continue to challenge Botswana for some time. According to Khama going forward a comprehensive assessment of all water challenges is also being finalised to assist with the prioritisation and implementation of water projects. He said a task team formed to carry out an assessment of the water and waste water situation in Botswana has recommended a number of projects meant to increase water supply across the country.
These efforts by govern were commended by the Mosienyane, who is of the view that , they are for the first time optimistic that something practical will come out of the proposed projects as government has provided guidelines and the implementation timeline for the projects. Khama also pointed out that among the on-going projects geared at augmenting the water crisis in the southern parts of this country is the extension of the North-South Carrier from Moralane Break pressure tank to Palapye, which he says is on-going and is now scheduled for completion in June 2016. “An additional pump station is to be constructed near Serorome valley to improve delivery and efficiency of the NSC 1 downstream of Mahalapye to Gaborone,” he said.
He said government has completed the Masama East Phase 1 boreholes injection into the NSC1 pipeline, at a cost of more than P300 million, as a means of supplementing the water supply of the greater Gaborone region. According to Khama, plans are also underway to extend a similar project at Masama West (Phase 2) at an estimated cost of some P450 million.