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Water shortage threatens economic growth

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Water scarcity has been singled out as a major challenge towards economic growth stimulation in the country.

The government, according to Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Minister Kitso Mokaila, has made targets aimed at stimulating the country’s economic growth in all sectors.

He said shortage of water is posing a great challenge. Without water, it is always a challenge to stimulate growth of the economy in all sectors.

Speaking at the World Water Day commemorations in Francistown last Saturday, Mokaila said, “The current water demand in the country for various sectors of the economy stands at 221 million cubic metres per annum and only 218 million cubic metres per annum is currently committed for use.”

By the year 2016, Mokaila said, Botswana will require 225 million cubic metres per annum to stimulate growth in various sectors of the economy.

Due to poor rains and non capture of running water into the Gaborone Dam, Mokaila lamented that the southern part of Botswana is currently thirsty with no options in place for the south to bring about water sources.

As a result, the government through the Minerals Energy and Water Resources Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) has been rationing water especially in Gaborone and surrounding areas.

“But rationing water is not sustainable. Rationing will always derails economic growth in all sectors,” said Mokaila, adding that the construction and agricultural sectors are the most affected.

It is against this backdrop that the government has come up with different strategies aimed at meeting water demand in the country in order to stimulate economic growth in all the sectors of the economy.

“The government came up with strategies of infrastructure development, water conservation and demand management as well as institutional restructuring,” explained the minister.

The construction of Dikgatlhong Dam, Lotsane Dam and Thune Dam was part of the infrastructural development that was implemented between 2005 and 2015 in order to meet the country’s water demand.

Meanwhile, Mokaila revealed that the government acceded to the revised Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on shared watercourses of 2000.

Through this protocol, Botswana is a member of four river basin management organizations which are Okavango River Basin Commission (OKACOM), Orange-Sengu River Basin Commission (ORASECOM), the Limpopo Basin Commission (LIMCOM) and Zambezi River Basin Commission (ZAMCOM).

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