Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Minister, Kitso Mokaila, says Government has embarked on development projects to ensure that the country has adequate supply of water and electricity going forward.
When addressing members of the business community on the country’s water and electricity situation Mokaila said participation of the private sector was vital in ensuring that issues of water and energy management were well taken care of. He stated that Botswana established the 30-year national water master plan in 1990 and reviewed it in 2006.
He said the review indicated that there was an urgent need to change strategy and focus on water management, which gave birth to large scale storage facilities such as Dikgathong and Thune dams.
Mokaila also revealed that there had been a gradual reduction of rainfall amounts in the southern parts of Botswana, which led to expedited construction of the north south water carrier to ferry water from the north to the south.
He said daily demand in the Gaborone area was 125 million litres per day, which increased to 145 million litres at peak time. However, Mokaila said dams in the Gaborone area had proved to be unable to meet demand.
He said Gaborone dam’s supply had halved from 88 million litres per day to 48 million litres per day while supply from Molatedi dam in South Africa had also gone down from 20 million litres per day to 10 million litres per day.
He explained that the construction of dams like Dikgathong, Thune and Lotsane dams will help alleviate water shortage. Dikgatlhong will supply 400 million cubic meters, Lotsane 40 million cubic meters and Thune 90 million cubic meters.
All these dams were completed in 2012/13. “The NSC II will facilitate transportation of water from the north to the south,” said Mr Mokaila.
On the power situation, Mokaila said two out of the four units at Morupule B power plant were operational. He said unit one was fully operational and produced 132MW of power while unit 4 is operating at 80 per cent capacity.
Unit three was expected to be in full swing by April while unit two was also expected to be operational and handed over by June 2014. He also revealed that a new contractor has been appointed after Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) terminated their contract with the old contractor CNEEC.
“CNEEC failed to deliver the plant on time and according to specifications. Also, BPC and CNEEC could not agree on the terms and specifications for continuation of the operation and maintenance contract,” said Mokaila.
On top of the power that it gets from Morupule B, BPC also gets an additional 100 MW from Eskom and more from the Orapa and Matshelagabedi substations.
To generate more power, BPC also plans to refurbish Morupule A and start construction at the Brownfield and Greenfield stations.
For his part, the President of Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) Lekwalo Mosienyane said the private sector is so willing to work with government to overcome shortage of water and power supply across the country.
Mosienyane said the private sector has capacity to finance water and electricity management and as such do not just want to be spectators and by–standers but rather to have a stake in these affairs.
He added that he was happy with the outcome of the meeting and looked forward to implementation of the resolutions.