For a country covered in over 80% desert, Botswana’s water supply has always been a difficulty. Things have only made a turn for the worst. Over the last four years, the small country in the southern tip of Africa has endured a series of droughts. This succession of years with little water has left more than thirty percent of the citizenry without access to clean drinking water, forcing people to travel miles to the nearest fresh water.
The crisis doesn’t only affect people and their livestock. This drought has also taken a toll on businesses of all types. Everyone, even down to small pottery clay artisans who craft pots for tourists, feel the lack of availability of water. Without water, processes like crafting clay pottery become nearly impossible, not forgetting diamond mining, restaurants, and all other kinds of businesses. This water shortage also increases the price of the existing water for those who can afford it. A single liter of water in Botswana can cost up to $30, putting it out of the price range for many1.
The government is well aware of these issues and has already begun to put systems in place to improve the country’s clean water supply. On March 1st, 2017, the World Bank approved a $145.5 million loan to improve water availability in drought vulnerable areas, to the Republic of Botswana. It is only because of the stable economy from the diamond industry that the Republic of Botswana was able to receive this loan.
The overall goal of this initiative is strengthening pre-existing water reserves and water waste management. These funds have been divided up into three sections to maximize their effectiveness in the Emergency Water Security and Efficiency Project, which was approved on March 2nd, 2017. The plan divides the country’s efforts between Sanitation, Water Supply, and Public Administration responsible for water, sanitation, and waste management. An estimated 460,000 people will receive direct benefits from rehabilitating existing water supply systems2. A small step towards a more green economy.
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