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Nov 11, 2008

Botswana water utility plans to duplicate North South carrier scheme

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Botswana parastatal, the Water Utilities Corporation, plans to duplicate its North South Carrier Scheme, in an effort to mitigate the effect of severe weather conditions in the country, an official said on Tuesday.

Water Utilities Corporation CEO Fred Muange said the initial North South Carrier Scheme had cost the utility about 1,5-billion pula, an estimated $350-milion, and had started operation in 2000.

The North South Carrier Scheme ran from a dam on the Motlontse River, in northern Botswana along transfer pipelines, four pumping stations, and a water treatment plant.
It links the Letsibogo dam and major wellfields to Gaborone through a large diameter pipeline 400 km in length. It also serviced all the small towns along the transfer pipeline with raw water.

Funding for the duplication would most likely come from Botswana’s own bond market, as it had improved significantly over the past few years.

“We used to fund our projects with loans from the likes of the World Bank and, the funding was given to us in hard currency in either dollar or pound. In those currencies, we could not afford to pay those loans because of the fluctuations of our currencies. So loans became unaffordable.”

Muange added that the Water Utilities Corporation would also welcome infrastructure investment from the government, however, he added that these would be more useful in the form of equity investments, rather than grants.

The country of Botswana is well known for its arid conditions, and the country also had minimal surface water supplies. About 80% of national demand was met from groundwater.

Edited by: Mariaan Webb
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