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Water tariffs set to increase

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Parliament is expected to approve a proposed price increase in water tariffs when they convene in July.

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Thatayaone Dedede first hinted at the imminent price-hike when speaking at the recent SADC water week.

More recently, after an urgent cabinet meeting was held last week to deliberate on the matter, Dedede noted that the overwhelming consensus was that a slight increase in water pricing was required.

The Deputy Secretary added that water is becoming an increasingly expensive commodity and therefore the consumer inevitably has to foot the bill.

He suggested the reason the cost of water is set to escalate is because of its demand and its high maintenance.

“Water has become a scarce commodity. We have proposed to cabinet that although we were given the largest share of the development budget in the National Development Plan 10, we feel there is still a need to increase water tariffs,” he explained.

He observed that water in Botswana is not currently under one regulator, but hopes that this will soon change as cabinet has been asked to approve a bill that will see a single regulator for water established.

This was the recommendation made by a task team appointed to advise cabinet on its water policies.

They suggested that an all-encompassing regulator, which will be called the Botswana Energy and Water Regulator, is set up.

Highlighting the advantage of this, Dedede said, “A single regulator is important to monitor or have all water controlled under one unit. This will ease the management of water in the country.”

Botswana Waters is currently managed by the department of Water Affairs, but distributed by Water Utilities Corporation.

However, individuals such as farmers, have the pleasure of drilling their own water with permission from the Water Aportion Board. Information as to whether their water is regulated is not clear.