SA to cut off water supply

South African authorities are threatening to cut off water supply from Molatedi Dam to Botswana, as the two countries struggle to meet their respective demands
South African authorities are threatening to cut off water supply from Molatedi Dam to Botswana, as the two countries struggle to meet their respective demands

Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) authorities will meet their South African counterparts on October 1, in a meeting that could result in the disconnection of Molatedi Dam supplies to Gaborone, Mmegi has established.

Molatedi, a 201 million cubic metre dam located near Zeerust, is presently supplying 4.8 million litres a day to the Greater Gaborone area.

WUC corporate communications manager, Matida Mmipi, said the disconnection of Molatedi Dam would be a major blow for the region.

“Given the reduced supply to the Greater Gaborone area vis-à-vis its nominal water demand, the contribution of Molatedi Dam has relatively increased and is significant, hence the impact of disconnection will be severe,” Mmipi said in an emailed response to written questions.

Under a 1988 agreement, Molatedi Dam supplies up to 16 percent of the Greater Gaborone region’s daily water requirements. However, this supply is cut by half whenever the dam’s water level falls below 26 percent.

The most recent update from WUC indicates that the dam is at 8.4 percent, and reports from South Africa suggest water authorities in that country are under pressure to limit Molatedi’s yield to local communities. Mmipi said the meeting on Molatedi would take place soon.

“In terms of the water supply agreement, the next decision date is 1 October 2015, at which point a determination will be made whether to disconnect or not given the rapidly dwindling dam level,” she said.

Should SA disconnect Greater Gaborone from Molatedi, the city and its environs will have one less option for water supply, increasing consumers’ dependency on the unstable North South Carrier.

The Carrier has frequently burst or leaked this year, resulting in water cuts of up to three weeks and more for some parts of the Greater Gaborone area.

Parts of Tlokweng are still recovering from the last North South Carrier outage, which took place on September 3.

Meanwhile, inter-faith organisations, as well as ordinary members of the public, are set to hold prayers for the failed Gaborone Dam on September 27.

The prayers come as the Meteorological Services Department forecasts that the Greater Gaborone area will witness the driest rain season in 34 years.

The forecast effectively rules out any replenishing of Gaborone Dam in the short term and condemns consumers to at least, another 12 months of water shortages. The situation is expected to ease in early 2017 with the finalisation of the North South Carrier 2 and the extension of the Masama wellfields.

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