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Over the years, there have been several water suppliers in Botswana. The Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) has been supplying towns and cities. In addition, it has been supplying the Department of Water Affairs and District Councils with bulk water for further distribution to the remaining areas in the country. The Water Sector Reforms Project (WSRP) is aimed at streamlining this somewhat cumbersome arrangement and therefore improve water supply service delivery.
What necessitated the implementation of the Water Sector Reforms?
The National Water Master Plan Review (NWMPR) of 2005-2006 recommended a major restructuring of the water sector which includes, amongst others, the separation of water resources management from water service delivery. Following this, the Government engaged the World Bank to work with the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources to rationalize the water sector. It is from this study that the Water Utilities Corporation is now expected to take over all water and wastewater service delivery in the country.
Which villages will be taken over first?
As to which villages will be taken over and when, will be dependent on various factors such as which villages have infrastructure that is ready for a takeover and which ones have infrastructure that has to be upgraded before the takeover. Villages with inter-linked water supply schemes may also necessitate that they be taken over at the same time. The takeover will be such that districts and sub-districts will be treated as clusters and taken over as a whole where feasible.
How long is the process going to take?
According to the plan, the Water Utilities Corporation will take over all potable water services in the country in three years and all waste water services in the next five years, both effective May 2009.
Are water tariffs in the villages taken over going to change?
The tariffs in the villages taken over will not change immediately as a result of the Water Sector Reforms. If any changes do occur, these will not be directly linked to the reforms. Unlike the Department of Water Affairs and District Councils, the Water Utilities Corporation is required by the VAT Act to charge VAT for services rendered and this amount will be reflected on the customers’ bills.
Does the Water Utilities Corporation have the human resource capacity to takeover water service delivery to the whole country?
The Corporation will take over some employees from the Department of Water Affairs and District Councils who have been working in the areas to be taken over. In the event that the Corporation does not manage to fill all positions it will recruit within WUC and eventually from the open market.
What will become of the Department of Water Affairs?
The Water Utilities Corporation will be responsible for water and wastewater service delivery. The Department of Water Affairs will thus become responsible for water resources planning and management which will encompass the construction of dams.
What will happen to DWA and District Council Water Units employees?
The Water Utilities Corporation will advertise and appoint those employees from the DWA and District Councils who qualify for the required positions. Those who are not absorbed by WUC in this respect will remain with their current employers. They may be re-deployed within the existing Departments or to any other Government Department.
Are DWA/Council employees going to be retrenched as a result of the reforms?
No. Those not absorbed by WUC will remain with DWA or District Councils or be re-deployed to other Government Departments.
What is expected of customers in the villages to be taken over?
All WUC customers are required to sign water supply agreements when they apply for water connection. Following the takeover from DWA and District Councils, WUC would like all former DWA and District Council customers to sign new water supply agreements.
Phase I Takeover
Under Phase I, water supply to Mogoditshane and Tlokweng villages as well as bulk water supply to the North East District was taken over in May 2009.