The southern part of the country will have the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) to thank for the fast-tracking of outstanding waterworks in the water-scarce region that includes the densely populated Greater Gaborone area.
The Kanye-Mmamashia pipeline, which took off last year, and the emergency Masama 100km pipeline to be completed next year, are to be followed by more water projects.
These include the Molepolole-Gamononyane pipeline, Gaborone Water Master Plan, Lobatse Water Master Plan, and Goodhope pipelines and Masama East wellfield and its pipeline, all to be fast-tracked as COVID-19 threats exacerbate water needs, according to authorities.
Kefentse Mzwinila, Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, alluded to the virus being the game changer at the official ground breaking ceremony for the Masama 100km pipeline early this week. Mzwinila said that the virus has forced government to support the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) to fast-track major waterworks in the water-scarce but economically active southern part of the country, which includes the Greater Gaborone area.
Mzwinila said health experts around the world have advised that COVID-19 will be around for some time, and that the world’s population will have to learn to live with it by constantly washing hands with clean water and soap, and keeping the environment clean all the time, which will require a constant supply of water.
After connecting Thamaga, Moshupa and Kanye to the North-South Water Carrier through water flow via the Gamononyane-Mmamashia pipeline last year, Mzwinila said the Masama 100km project followed and is set for completion on or before May 2021.
The Gamononyane-Molepolole pipeline, which will deliver reliable water supply to the vast but parched Molepolole town, and to Mapharangwane in the west, will also be fast-tracked.
This week, WUC also conducted site visits for tender awards for the Lobatse-Good Hope 100km and Goodhope Sekhutlane 230km projects. According to Mzwinila, taking Botswana’s economy to another level and creating employment opportunities will require a lot of water for such industries as the planned Lobatse leatherworks, and the Milk Afric project, both in Lobatse. This will affect, he said, the pace of plot allocations in the Greater Gaborone areas such as in Oodi.
He added, the water shortage bedvellling Mogoditshane also hampers government’s plan critical in residential plot allocations, as according to the housing policy it adopted.
As such the minister recognised the importance of fast-tracking the Lobatse Water Master Plan, Gaborone 2.3 Master Plan, which he said were also critical in relaying water to Good Hope areas. Mzwinila said while the Masama 100km project will go a long way in alleviating the ongoing water stress in the region, several pipelines will be needed to cater for the expanding economic needs of the region such as the North-South Water Carrier 2.2, the connection of Dikgatlhong Dam to the pipeline, as well as drawing water from the Chobe/Zambezi River systems to the North-South Water Carrier.