Policies must promote climate change adaptation, mitigation

Good Hope Senior Secondary School: Experts argue that rain water harvesting is one of the options that the nation should adopt
Good Hope Senior Secondary School: Experts argue that rain water harvesting is one of the options that the nation should adopt

Relevant policies and tax incentives to make water harvesting compulsory have been identified as measures that can help the country adapt to dry weather conditions.

Attendants of last week’s seminar on climate change, held at the University of Botswana (UB)said because Botswana was inherently semi-arid, adaptation was not a new phenomenon, just that policies were not stringent enough to promote the practice.

One participant said it was time government ensured that council departments tasked with approving building plans did so on condition that water harvesting tanks were a component of the plan.

  “Moreover, there has to be tax incentives for those who comply so as to encourage the uptake of water harvesting as times toughen,” said the participant.

A comment was also made on the Presidential Housing Appeal and others- who have to use a lot of water to contruct houses for the poor who are hardest hit by the water shortage.  

The forum, which was addressed by the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila, agreed to these suggestions as mitigation efforts were long overdue as water resources were at the centre of climate change.

Mokaila said in as much as global warming and related climate changes were predicted to present significant challenges in most of Botswana’s natural resources over the next century, “water is the eye of this climate storm.”

He said the country was therefore forced to take action, as it could no longer afford to wait for the rainy season to fill dams.

“We need to pro-actively find solutions to mitigate impacts of climate change,” said Mokaila.

Due to climate change, he said, water resources were already facing challenges of reduced water dam levels, reduced river flows and a decline in ground water levels.

He emphasised that sound and comprehensive mitigation measures needed to be implemented to avert the likely repetition of the water deficit situation already faced by the country. 

“Development of an early warning system for floods and droughts is an important mitigation measure for my ministry in disaster preparedness and risk reduction that can result from climate change,” he added.

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