ROBELELA: Minister of Minerals Energy and Water Resources Kitso Mokaila has said that the newly commissioned Dikgatlhong Dam, the biggest in the country, is now available to supply Gaborone with water.
Speaking during the commissioning of the dam on Tuesday this week, Mokaila said during the recent 30-day reliance testing of the 400 million cubic metre dam, Letsibogo Dam had been closed off and supplies from Dikgatlhong sent to Gaborone to test the conveyance.
While a pipeline from Dikgatlhong to Moralane has been built, the second stage bringing the water to Gaborone is due for tender. The recent reliance testing was done through the existing North South Carrier Scheme which runs from Letsibogo.
Mokaila added that the tests showed that 1, 100 litres of water/per second are capable of being pumped from Dikgatlhong to Gaborone, with this rising to 2, 126 litres per second at full capacity.
The minister added that all the resources of the country belong to the whole nation and that while the dam is situated in the north its other intended beneficiaries are in the southern part of the country.
The minister added that in the past Botswana’s economy was driven by diamonds that benefited the entire nation including those who did not have diamond deposits in their area.
He said it is revenue from diamond sales that funded the construction of Dikgatlhong Dam.
He said the site for the dam was identified in 1987 and negotiations between the government and the community started and was later followed by exhumation and reburial of 125 human remains to give way for the dam construction.
Dikgatlhong Dam that was constructed in 2008 at a cost of P1.2 billion has a holding capacity of 400 million cubic meters of water. Bamangwato regent Sediegeng Kgamane who attended the official opening of the dam said the construction of the dam is a result of the National Water Master Plan many years ago. He added that the commissioning of Dikgatlhong Dam is a demonstration of government’s commitment to provide adequate, clean and potable water to the whole nation. He said the project has brought a lot of economic activities in the area and many employment opportunities were created during the construction.
He said shortage of water is now a thing of the past. Kgosi Kgamane added that the construction of the dam however was also an emotional affair as burial remains were exhumed and relocated to new burial sites. Burial remains of residents of Matopi, Robelela and Polometsi were exhumed after resistance followed by lengthy consultations between the government and the residents. Kgosi Kgamane thanked government’s approach to ensure national unity and social harmony.
For his part the visiting Ghana President John Dramani Mahama said Botswana is one of the most respected countries in Africa and added that governments in Africa need to be creative and innovative in planning for the water requirements of their people.
He said Dikgatlhong Dam is a testimony of innovation and creativity of the leadership of this country. He added that the construction of the dam was similar to construction of hydro power station in Ghana where the communities had to be relocated to pave way for the project, as it was the case with Dikgatlhong Dam.
He said Botswana and Ghana uphold national political understanding and good governance and said for him to commission Dikgatlhong Dam depicts long-standing relations between the two nations.
He noted that the countries are developing in terms of industry, business and commerce and this comes with an increased demand for water.
He said his country had the same challenges in pursuing the Millennium Development Goals and had to invest heavily on the provision of water supply.
He further said in the last decade Ghana invested close to US$2 billion on different kinds of water systems such as town water systems and large pump stations like the one at Dikgatlhong Dam.