As the Greater Gaborone area spanning from Mochudi to Lobatse teeters on the brink of a catastrophic water shortage, Water Utilities Corporation’s (WUC) attempts to curb the situation are hampered by acts of vandalism.
The North South Water Carrier (NSC) is already in poor health with frequent bursts near Palapye, but occasional water ponds have become a familiar sight as farmers at villages along the pipeline occasionally cut it open to water their cattle.
Some even senselessly inscribe graffiti on the pipe in mockery of the WUC efforts.
The vandalism extends to as far as Ramotswa where the equipment at the well fields, which include power cables, have been destroyed and some stolen.
Such vandalism has not helped the long-suffering water consumers and without much to do about it, WUC has adopted stern measures which include water rationing and stiff penalties which include disconnection for leakages.
The water rationing in Gaborone and the surrounding areas has, since September 29th, increased from two to three times a week.
The increase, according to WUC Corporate Communications Manager Matida Mmipi, is a chilling reminder of the dwindling water shortage that may turn uglier in a few months if the water situation does not change.
She said the water rationing was part of the interventions recommended at a drought meeting recently.
“Apart from proactive repairs of noticeable leaks and disconnection or penalties on individuals for leaks, water rationing will be intensified looking at needs and further revision of water restrictions to ban the use of potable water for certain activities such as car washing,” she said
Speaking during a media tour for appreciation of the challenges that WUC is facing with the drying condition of Bokaa dam and the vandalised wellfields at Ramotswa, Infrastructure Director at WUC Gaselemogwe Senai said WUC was racing against time to put measures in place.
“Some of the interventions include negotiating with our counterparts in South Africa to continue supplying water from Molatedi dam despite the agreement that they can only supply Botswana with 20 million cubic litres of water when the dam was over 26 per cent.
Senai said while the corporation awaited the NSC to resume normal operation it would rehabilitate the nine boreholes in Ramotswa to supply the Ramotswa area and that the water will be blended with that of the Gaborone dam.
He further said the Kgatleng area will be provided with water from Malotwane and Rasesa boreholes that will soon be recommissioned.
Other measures, Senai said, include exploration of private boreholes in water stressed areas to supply the public.
WUC has also decided to commission disused boreholes in areas such as Manyana and Mankgodi to reduce the pressure on Gaborone dam.
As for activities that demand large quantities of water such as construction, WUC has recommended alternative sources such as the Bokaa dam quarry and waste water plants.