In spite of recording bumper rainfall amounts throughout the country this summer, Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) water supply continues to be besieged with challenges.
Briefing the media on the water supply situation last week, WUC’s Chief Executive Officer, Mmetla Masire said the biggest challenge the corporation has been battling with has not only been limited to ageing infrastructure but also water losses due to damaged pipes.
“As much as we celebrate the downpours this past rainy season, we must not forget what we have been through. Therefore, managing water losses should be a priority for both us and the public at large,” Mr Masire said.
Masire said it was a well – known fact that some water was lost through public and institutions standpipes as well as old infrastructure.
“There is another growing phenomenon of vandalism and third party damage of infrastructure which also results in significant water losses,” he added.
Mr Masire said to address the challenges, the corporation was undertaking numerous interventions including public awareness and education, and upgrading the water reticulation system for dilapidated networks.
He said WUC was also considering reviewing its operational philosophy and pressure management. He noted that water restrictions were still in place to ensure the prudent use of the available water so that it lasts until the next rainy season.
Masire explained that WUC had revised tariffs effective 1st April 2017 pursuant to the policy which stipulates that the corporation would continue to regularly review the tariffs to bring them closer to a cost reflective price. He said the revision of the 2017/18 tariffs was expected to result in a 15 percent revenue increase, at the very least.
He further said WUC has adopted a tariff structure that encourages water conservation, adding that the corporation continued to maintain tariffs at a basic consumption of (5-10kl), “which was very affordable.” Additionally, he said WUC had discontinued the P20 minimum/charge that was applied across the board regardless of consumption.
The 2016/17 rainy season, which officially ended on March 31, was above average; resulting in significant inflows into most of the country’s dams.
Gaborone, Bokaa and Nnywane dams in the south are at 97.7, 96.2 and 91.9 percent capacity respectively; which translates to 30 months, 13 months and 12 months’ water supply respectively. The dams in the north are all 80 per cent full, with Dikgatlhong Dam, which is the largest in the country, currently at 99.7 percent capacity