Mmegi Online :: Every drop counts, residents learn the hard way
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Last Updated
Wednesday 14 November 2018, 18:34 pm.
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Every drop counts, residents learn the hard way

Gaborone residents are learning the true application of “every drop counts”. Just about every household, from poor to rich, now understand what it means to “save water”. On specific days during the week, taps and showers in given areas of the city run dry. Staff Writer MPHO MOKWAPE and Correspondent NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE talk to some Gaborone residents.
By Mpho Mokwape Nnasaretha Kgamanyane Fri 12 Dec 2014, 13:37 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Every drop counts, residents learn the hard way








An old resident of Gaborone, Kitsiso Mmele has lived most of her life in the city and has never seen Gaborone Dam dry up. Harvesting water and keeping it in drums and buckets is an altogether new experience for her. 

Below she ruminates on the issue.

“It appears water shortage is becoming more severe. When this problem started, we only had no water on Saturdays, now we have no water several days a week.

“This week we had no water today (Thursday) and Monday.  In this house we use a flush toilet, and you can imagine what that means, especially for elderly people like me. We can’t even use pit latrines because the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) will not empty them.

She continues:

“Back in the days we could harvest rainwater, but today the atmosphere is polluted. We can’t even fetch water from ponds and lakes as it rains only once in a while and such areas are polluted. So these containers have become our only way of ensuring there is water in the house.”

Aupa Seolobeng: “Have you ever seen people staying up for water. As soon as it arrives we rush to the tap to collect it into containers – buckets, drums and bathtubs.

“It’s an existence we have never known before and something we are finding very difficult to get used to. It was even better staying at the rural areas as at least we could get some water from boreholes and ponds.”

Tshepho Kolobe: “Bathing has almost become alien. We only use a little to wash the most important areas of the body. The rest we wipe. Use all your water and you will have nothing to cook with or drink.

“The problem is, we hardly even have the opportunity to clean these containers (that they use to keep harvested water), as we can’t throw away any water.  Sometimes it smells, but we can’t throw

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it away, even when a cockroach should fall into it.

The going is tough for everyone. Builders, whose work often demands lots of water, are finding it most tough.”

Definate Zirimba: “Ordinarily our employer’s tap should be running, and we should simply be using a hosepipe to get water to mix the mortar.

“Now we have to fetch water elsewhere with these heavy containers. This not only makes our job difficult, but it also slows us down. When we are done we use the little water left to bathe.”

The WUC has said the water situation in Gaborone and the Greater Gaborone area at large, is set to get worse, unless there is inflow into the Gaborone Dam in the next couple of weeks.

The Dam stood at only 5.2 percent at the last reading. Already communities around locations such as Tsolamosese, Ledumadumane are resorting to shallow wells and dams salvation as thirst makes its cruel mark in the communities.

Despite the large amounts of lead in the rainwater owing to the very high emission rates and around the city, more and more people are also resorting to harvesting rainwater from their roofs.

These are tough times, when the city dweller has to resort to the rural lifestyle of fetching water in whatever little place it collects. Sadly the water is heavily polluted and health authorities may find themselves having to soon deal with water-borne diseases in these areas. 

Unless there is inflow into the dam, Gaborone City dwellers may even find themselves having to fetch water from boreholes and wells outside the city.  Will this week’s rains bring respite to this parched city, or shall the city council and Gaborone residents have to resort to ingenious methods of  keeping thirst at bay in Botswana’s largest city?

It, certainly does not look like they intend to continue with the seemingly enforced edification of “every drop counts.”

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