Effects of Water Sector Reforms on Service Delivery in Botswana: The Case of Maun in Ngamiland District

Chedu Setume, Moseki Ronald Motsholapheko, Dimpho Mmakgosi Matlhola, and Emmanuel Mogende


Water reforms, water supply, Integrated water resources management


Botswana is a semi-arid water scarce country. The need for prudent management of water resources as well as global trends on water sector reforms has prompted the country to embrace integrated water resources management. This paper seeks to improve understanding of the challenges of implementing IWRM principles in Botswana’s water sector. Using a conceptualisation of the integrated water resources management approach, the paper assesses the structure and function of water management institutions at various spatial scales; it assesses stakeholder perceptions on water sector reforms, and identifies key challenges of supplying water in Maun and nearby settlements of Sexaxa and Matlapaneng;. The paper utilises data from secondary sources and stakeholder interviews. The results indicate that prior to the water sector reforms frequent water shortages, inadequate storage, aging and inefficient distribution infrastructure, and poor service delivery were the main challenges faced by the water sector in Botswana. The following reforms were implemented to address the challenges: 1) dismantling and re-arrangement of water management institutions; and 2) Water Utilities Corporation awarded the responsibility to supply water to all settlements including Maun and small settlements. The water reform had challenges in Maun as WUC inherited a debt of BWP70 million, old and incapacitated and poorly constructed water supply infrastructure; and water tariffs that didn’t meet the costs of water supply. These resulted in water supply disruptions.

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