Sunday, November 2, 2008

Remarks by H. Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama at the Official Commissioning of the Ntimbale Dam

source: Republic of Botswana (7/9/08): TAUTONA TIMES no 26 of 2008
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President "Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"


[Salutations]…Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Today marks an important milestone in the history of water supply in this country, particularly in the North East District. For as we conduct the official commissioning of the Ntimbale dam and associated infrastructure, we also take cognisance of the other works carried out to improve the water supply situation in the District, namely the Maitengwe well-field and associated infrastructure, as well as reticulation network to all the villages to ensure that water does get to the people.

2. I need not remind you about the scarcity of water in Botswana. Acute water shortages affect people’s livelihoods and also impacts negatively on development projects.

3. While still struggling with finding sustainable sources for many of our areas, especially those in the Western part of this country, the North East now has reasonable sustainable water sources.

4. The completion of the Ntimbale dam project marks yet another milestone in our continuing efforts to solve the water situation in the District and the country as a whole. Undertaking this project has been a major challenge which required careful investigations on the suitable dam site, and how best to develop it. A feasibility study for a dam near Masunga at the Tati/Ntoba confluence was carried out in 1997. However, this site proved not technically feasible for a dam. The Department of Water Affairs immediately investigated another site near Ntimbale hills. This site proved to be not only technically, economically and environmentally feasible for a dam but that a dam at this site would be able to meet the projected water demand of the whole North East District and neighbouring Central district villages for the next twenty years.

5. Based on the above the government through the Department of Water Affairs continued immediately with the detailed design of the Ntimbale dam. Detailed design of the dam and associated works including contract documents were completed in 2000. The Construction of the Ntimbale dam and associated works started in January 2005 with the construction of the dam.

6. The Ntimbale dam project cost a total P 205 million. While the Ntimbale dam was under construction, government also carried a major water transfer scheme that covered all 51 villages in the North East District at a total cost of P280 million. The Maitengwe Well-field with 12 boreholes was developed prior to the water transfer scheme at a cost of P15 million.

7. In spite of the water challenges, we have had a rather rapid population growth, accelerated developments in the district headquarters-Masunga, and these, coupled with the persistent and prolonged droughts, have placed this region in a serious water deficit. At one point as an interim measure, Masunga village was connected to the Francistown supply through an expensive quick coupling pipeline to address the water crisis. Today, we stand here to proclaim that water shortages hopefully should be a thing of the past for the North East District.

8. In my inaugural speech, in April this year I spoke about the 4 Ds. One of the Ds is Discipline. Now that the district has a reasonable supply of water for domestic purposes, there may be a tendency by some people not to use water carefully, and watering their animals from the domestic supply, and in some cases even vandalize the infrastructure. Such behaviour would constitute indiscipline and we will take all measures to ensure that none of this happens. Those who will be caught in acts of vandalism will have to answer for their deeds, and face the appropriate penalty for such acts. As you are all aware, water is life, where there is no water life becomes intolerable, as you the people of this District can give testimony. All the developments that one can think of can never be achieved without water. I implore you all to guard and protect this magnificent infrastructure jealously.

9. By the same token, I wish to urge you all not to ignore the operation of the well-field now that there is dam water. The two schemes are meant to complement each other. As ground water is not secure from evaporation losses, the Maitengwe well-field should serve as a strategic reserve. The well-field should also serve as a standby in case there is a breakdown at the dam or treatment plant. I therefore urge all concerned to ensure that the Maitengwe well-field is always in a state of readiness to take over the supply if the need arises.

10. In celebrating the successful completion of the works, we commend both ministries for completing this fine project.

11. In conclusion, I want to reassure you of Government’s commitment to the welfare of the people, and will work hard to ensure that there is water available to support basic water needs, support agriculture to feed our people and create jobs. However, for everything that we do to succeed, we need cooperation from all of you, to ensure that all infrastructure is maintained and that our limited resources are used in a sustainable manner. Kea leboga bagaetsho. PULA!!!

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