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Water regulatory body in the offing

BABOKI KAYAWE
Mokaila
The establishment of a water regulatory body seems plausible as the just presented draft National Water Policy (NWP) highly prioritises role clarity within the water sector.

Repeated calls for the body’s existence have been echoed with the Gaborone-Bonnigton South MP Ndaba Gaolathe at the forefront of this reform. His motion on the matter was this week passed by Parliament.

On the other hand, government made promises for the setting up of the regulatory body almost six years ago.  Once in place, the body, as contained in the draft policy, will be tasked with economic regulation of the sector. 

Parliament heard this week that the intended policy was meant to provide innovative water and sanitation solutions geared towards proper positioning of national water needs.

In a statement circulated in the House, minister of minerals, energy and water resources, Kitso Mokaila said the policy provides a departure from the current scenario “where legislation was made without overarching policy framework to inform it”.

The regulator will ensure financial sustainability across the water sector, reducing wastage by facilitating the streamlining of operations and determining revenue requirements to inform regular tariff adjustments.

All water supply and wastewater previously in the hands of local authorities and department of water affairs will be transferred to the corporation. “All water supply and sewerage services should vest

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in one authority,” the statement read.

The communiqué says while the absence of such has worked well since independence, the country’s changed circumstances necessitated a new approach built from lessons of the past and current global thinking in the water sector.

“The crippling drought which has besieged most of the country in the recent years has brought into sharp focus the need for clear policy and this presentation is a first step in that regard,” reads the statement.

The objective of the policy is to facilitate access to water of suitable quality and standards for the citizenry, and provide foundations for sustainable development of water resources in support of economic growth, diversification and poverty eradication.

Among its outstanding provisions is ownership of the resource which the draft policy says water should not be amenable to private ownership, to keep the lower block consumption tariff that ranges from 0-5,000 litres as low as possible to cater for the poor.

The policy proposes to among other things review raw water extraction fees, take into account minimum aquatic ecological needs when allocating water for any purpose and the use of transboundary water resources.



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