Strategic development for the wastewater and sanitation sector of Botswana

Type Conference Paper - 2004 Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) Biennial Conference
Title Strategic development for the wastewater and sanitation sector of Botswana
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2004
Since independence in 1966 the economy of Botswana has been expanding at a rate of over 9%
per year, whilst the population growth has averaged 3.5%. This has resulted in a noticeable
improvement in the living standards of the people. The Government of Botswana has embarked on
a program of developing the nationís infrastructure as can be seen by such things as the extensive
system of roads, schools hospitals etc. Reliable water supply has also been provided to all the
population centres as a result of the dams and pipelines recently built. In order to avoid polluting
the environment it is now turning its attention to the wastewater aspects, whilst still implementing
extensive on-site programs. This paper looks at developing the national master plan for
wastewater and sanitation so that the sector can be properly planned and managed for the next 30
Until recently the development and management of wastewater and sanitation treatment facilities
were fragmented and executed by various government institutions with minimal coordination in
planning, project funding, design and / or implementation. This approach has resulted in the use of
inefficient wastewater treatment systems, improper allocation of funds, poor operation and
maintenance and sometimes resulted in environmental hazards and a threat to public health
arising from the poor quality effluent flowing into the environment. Never-the-less a noticeable
improvement of hygiene practices have been experienced at household level and public places
particularly in major centres, but it has not been as effective as initially perceived by planners. It
has now become imperative to establish a proactive and appropriate wastewater and sanitation
sector to deal with the rapid development taking place.
The government has consequently initiated the National Master Plan for the sector through the
central Department of Sanitation and Waste Management to develop a sustainable sector program
to address both sanitation and wastewater handling, treatment, disposal, appropriate institutional
arrangement and planning. The new sector management plan, the first of its kind in the country,
has been developed by SMEC International in joint venture with, Ninham Shand Consulting
Services of South Africa. The new approach embraces an integrated planning and management
program that is demand driven. This is established through needs assessment surveys so that the
people get the desired facilities within the policy of cost recovery. A key aspect of this strategy is
the building of facilities in phases through staged and modular development and tying this into the
six-year national development planning periods for the next 30 years.
In looking forward it has been necessary to examine the demographics and urban drift and predict
how this will cater for the development of sewerage networks, wastewater treatment plants and
provision of on-site sanitation systems. Modalities for capacity building, present and future budgets
for manning this new planning strategy have also been developed as had the development of draft
legislation to control and enforce the policy.

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