On February 25th 2017 at 14:15 Gaborone Dam, which had never filled up to capacity in 17 years, started overflowing.
This was a welcome development for a thirsty nation, whose water situation was proving dire, leading to organized prayers for rain.
Although the filling up of the dam had brought hope that the cost of water would go down, such hope had been shattered by a recent announcement by Water utilities Corporation (WUC) that it has revised 2017/2018 tariffs to levy a 15% increase on tariffs.
Briefing media at a press conference recently, WUC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mmetla Masire said it was important to note WUC has adopted a stepped up tariff structure.
This means that the more water is consumed, the higher the charge. The structure aims to encourage water conservation by limiting unnecessary water usage.
“The Corporation has discontinued the P20.00 minimum/service charge that was applied to all consumers regardless of consumption,” he said, adding that at the same time, the corporation continues to maintain tariffs at basic consumption.
Continuing with the brief, Masire stated that water restrictions are still in effect.
He noted that public awareness and education on water conservation are central in effecting water conservation and managing water demand in general. He said that they form a pivotal role in managing water.
The corporation has realized a 3% reduction in water usage since the inception of the “Somarela Thothi” campaign, which educates the public on water conservation by encouraging the adoption of basic habits, which have an incremental water saving effect.
Some of these include fixing leaks around in the networks systems and customers’ premises, taking short showers of less than 5 minutes, filling the bath tub only to one’s ankles and re-using water from the bath and kitchen to water potted plants and the garden, among others.
WUC still maintains that institutions and businesses, should replace all urinals and automatic flushing toilets with standard bidets and similar water conserving practices should also be adopted for business operations.