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The 170 billion Pula water jinx

Water needs P165 billion cash, wastewater needs P5 billion

With Botswana’s dam sites almost exhausted, the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) needs a whooping P170 billion to contain the water crisis threatening Botswana, WeekendPost can reveal.


In the recent past President Lt. Gen. Ian Khama had sanctioned the WUC to carry out a “comprehensive assessment of water and wastewater situation” in the country, and the results are nerve wrecking – vanishing water sources and huge financial implications.


According to the assembled report, which was then presented to not only Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water resources (MMEWR) but also to a full Cabinet last week, WUC conceded that “the water situation requires immediate attention and will need huge resources.”


A total amount of P170 billion is divided between water and wastewater interventions as well short, medium and long term solutions.


To ameliorate the water problem, the government will need P165 billion cash injection; while solutions aligned to wastewater will call for a total of P5 billion. Botswana’s budget as presented by Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo this year stood at a sum of P50 billion, surely the country’s budget cannot finance the  P170 billion figure hence the need for private involvement to take control of the water situation in the country.


In the 2015 budget, the largest share of the development budget was allocated to the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR) at P3.32 billion or 25.7 percent of the budget. “This is meant to allow Government to continue to address the water and power issues facing the country by putting in place appropriate infrastructure,” reads part of the budget.


High placed sources at the WUC told this publication that efforts will be made to rope in the private sector to contribute to the water security situation in the country. “This is a developing process in the country,” one of the sources said. The WUC has advised that the Ministry and Government should consider partners in resolving matters such as Financing Infrastructure, introduction of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the water sector; expertise in Project Implementation and Management; Robust operation and Maintenance; Job creation; and Citizen Empowerment.


Some of the top priority projects, North-South Carrier scheme upgrading works is estimated at P1.53 billion (funding available) and to be implemented from now till February 2017.


WUC is also embarking on the North-South Water Carrier 2.2 pipeline and associated works such as the Gaborone Wastewater reclamation plant and the Chobe/Zambezi Water Transfer Scheme at P66 billion and the implementation period is estimated at seven years but funds are not available. Other projects include Gaborone master plan, Lobatse Master plan, refurbishment of Mambo wastewater treatment works as well as Boteti southern and central cluster which will cost around P4 billion and will be executed over three years.


According to the report, other planned projects include National Water Loss Control Project, Letlhakane Wastewater, North East and Tutume Sub District, and Selibe Phikwe Serule Transfer Scheme which are scheduled to be implemented over a period of three years at a cost of P3 billion.


Reports reaching this publication suggest that Cabinet members were also reminded of key action points such as to “develop and enhance water governance – development of trade effluent agreement, development of the regulator, and enhancement of institutions.” Ministers were also informed that there is need to profile consumers against water quality required, e.g Agriculture and mining need less potable water for their operations.


In addition, “Reinforcing the culture of conversation and demand management is paramount. Huge consumers should recycle, e.g BMC, boarding schools, and, build water efficiency into building codes e.g all households to have rain water harvesting.”


The water situation report also analysed the 16 management centres across the country. The report looked at the national surface and groundwater sources against demand clusters prior to the 2008 water sector reforms. Cabinet was told that “only two management centres of Kanye and Lobatse are in a bad situation while Ghanzi, Tsabong and Masunga require closer monitoring – as their situation is also undesirable.”

 
Through a map, WUC illustrated that the Maun, Ghanzi, Lobatse and Kanye management centres have acute water supply deficit of more than 30%. “Basically the picture reflects extreme infrastructure deficits generally throughout the country.”


The report highlights that many parts of the country experience serious water loss ranging from 16% to 58% and these include parts of Tsabong, Kanye, Lobatse, Molepolole, Ghanzi, Maun, Kasane, Masunga, Serowe and Mochudi. The only areas that have acceptable water losses are Gaborone, Palapye, Francistown, Selebi Phikwe and Letlhakane management centres.


Records indicate that areas that currently have conventional sewerage systems are: Maun, Gaborone, Kasane, Ghanzi, Francistown, Selibe Phikwe, Tonota, Palapye, Serowe, Mahalapye, Shoshong, Bobonong, Mochudi, Mogoditshane, Tlokweng, Gabane, Lobatse, Goodhope, Jwaneng, Ramotswa and Orapa.


“Out of these only Gaborone, Francistown, Jwaneng and Selibe Phikwe have huge potential for reclamation.” However they need to be refurbished and upgraded to improve efficiency, it is noted in the report.


According to the presentation made by the WUC, Trade Effluent Agreements need to be put in place to ensure pretreatment prior to discharging into the system e.g Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), tannery, poultry, and textiles. Effluent currently being discharged into the environment should be further treated for re-use. It is understood that the total quantity that can be reclaimed from these systems is 50% as minimum of treatment plant capacity.


How North South Carrier could fail
As at April 2015, the Gaborone dam was filled at a paltry 2.6% out of the 141.4 maximum capacity and has failed months of supply without inflow. Under normal circumstances, Molatedi dam (10ml), Bokaa dam (28ml), Nnywane dam (2.4ml), Ramotswa well field (5ml), Gaborone dam (74ml) and North-South Carrier 1 (60ml) make the total supply of 179.4ml to Greater Gaborone area. Gaborone peak demand is 145ml.


At present, excluding the Gaborone dam, the total supply of Gaborone water sits at 105.4 ml and therefore on a deficit of 39.6ml. In case, Masama East as a water source is included, the deficit will only be reduced to 19.6ml of deficit.


Moreover Gaborone water sources indicate that by 2016 the total supply of Gaborone water will be at 85ml with a deficit of 60ml. The water will come from Masama East, North-South Carrier, and the Ramotswa Well field.


It is also understood that without the North – South Carrier, by 2019 total available water will stand at 85ml hence a deficit of 112ml. Declining dam levels at Dikgatlhong and Letsibogo will lead to a failing North-South Carrier. Low or no rainfall will lead to Ramotswa not charging at all. But the general water situation will be determined by the amount of rain that falls over this period.


To achieve water security, a strategic shift is needed towards water demand management that both avoids future water shortages and keeps water affordable. Indications are that the available long term alternative is to use water from the Chobe Zambezi and link this with the North South Carrier as well as use water in the Nata River basin. However, both water sources are shared with other states, and the catch would be for Botswana to acquire consent of these countries, if the arrangement is to be carried through.


Botswana’s water demand is expected to be at 229 million cubic meters in 2020 and 286 million cubic meters in 2036. Demand is expected to outstrip supply in the near future hence water authorities are forced to come up with reasonable and plausible initiatives. Agriculture is the biggest water user in Botswana, accounting for 45 percent of all water used with the lowest productivity.

There is also going to be need for efficiency in water allocation – this could be implemented through the establishment of prioritized demand categories and quantities that are exempted for efficiency allocation process, and strict application of water efficiency guidelines to all other users.


Water lost through WUC supply system
Research indicates that one quarter of all water supply in Botswana is lost through the WUC distribution system. Industry players recommend that this must be reduced to the 15 percent set by the WUC. But the biggest problem according to the WUC cashflow analysis is that there is no funding available to implement the National Water Loss Control Project. 

To implement the Major Villages Network Rehabilitation and Land Servicing, WUC needs P150 million in 2015/16, P417 million in 2016/17, P475 million in 2017/18 and P400 million in 2018/19.  In addition Water Pressure Zoning needs an injection of P500 million in the same financial years; while Distribution Storage Reservoirs need P750 million between 2015 and 2019 financial years.

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Botswana economic recovery depends on successful vaccine rollout – BoB

5th May 2021
Botswana-economic-recovery-depends-on-successful-vaccine-rollout---BoB-

Bank of Botswana (BoB) has indicated that the rebounding of domestic economy will depended on successful vaccine roll-out which could help business activity to return to its post pandemic days.

Projections by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest a rebound in economic growth for Botswana in 2021.

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Inside the UB-BDF fighter Jet tragedy report

5th May 2021
Inside-the-UB-BDF-fighter-Jet-tragedy-report

Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.

Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”

Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”

The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.

“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.

Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.

Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.

Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.

Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”

In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”

Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.

“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.

Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.

Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.

He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”

Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.

“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.

One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.

A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.

Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.

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Uphill battle in Khama’s quest to charge Hubona

5th May 2021
JAKO HUBONA

A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.” 

Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.

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