Jackalas No1 protests over decade long water crisis

  • Villagers Petition WUC And Government
  • Villagers To Deliver The Petition To The MP
  • MP attributes water shortage on poor pumping system


FRANCISTOWN: For over a decade Jackalas No1 village has endured a persistent water crisis that has finally prompted the villagers to unite and protest against Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) as well as the Minister of Land Management Water and Sanitation through a petition that will soon be handed to the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area Biggie Butale who will eventually hand it to the Minister.

What surprised the community is that while their village is just a stone throw away from Ntimbale dam the situation continues to deteriorate by the day. The problem, according to villagers, is that over the years it has become severe such that weeks can go by without a single drop of water from taps while WUC still delivers water bills without fail.

To make matters worse according to the villagers is that despite countless efforts to engage relevant authorities’ no one seems sure of when the crises will be addressed. Also what pains the villagers the most is that while their village is enduring the dry spells of water, government departments in the village such as the Immigration and Customs housing, the army barracks and the police camp are not experiencing the same problem.

Village Development Committee (VDC) Chairperson Boyboy Zigwa who is spearheading the petition to be handed has described the water crisis as a hot potato that has affected their livelihoods negatively especially their children living in towns and cities as they have to constantly finance the delivery of water bowsers for their parents. Zigwa told Botswana Gazette that the persist water crisis has forced most of their children to go on self-exile because they struggle to survive whenever they come home. Zigwa said despite Jackalas No1 village being within the proximity of overflowing Ntimbale dam the water shortage over the years has become severe.  According to Zigwa the water shortage situation is as critical as they are now forced to fetch water untreated from dams.

“This water crisis has put our lives at risk because this water from dams is not clean for consumption. Over the years we tried to engage the village leadership but to date the problem still persists and no one has ever gave us positive answers on when the crisis will be rectified, this has prompted us to unite and petition the MP,” Zigwa revealed in an interview noting that the petition will be handed very soon.

In the online petition that is currently circulating for signature titled Bring Back Our Water, Jackalas No1 community states that the problem also impacts negatively small businesses and any potential economic activity in the village which harbours the busiest border post in Botswana- Ramokgwebana Border.  “It is a sad situation as the issue of water shortage has been going on for many years and none of the responsible bodies have provided any solution to date. This situation poses a big health and hygiene hazard. For many households and premises, flushing toilets and washing of hands has become a luxury. We ask for your support and input as we ask Water Utilities and Botswana Government to intervene urgently to save the people of Jackalas No 1 from this great thirst and health risks posed by this lack of water,” the community states in the petition to be handed adding that once a greater number of people have signed the petition the Jackalas Youth Exco and the VDC will lead its delivery to Water Utilities Corporation and Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services

The area MP attributed the water shortage to the water pumping system which he said its pressure become too low when approaching Jackalas No1 village. Butale explained in an interview that the water shortage started sometimes back during the expansion of water works. “Unfortunately after this expansion the water pressure towards the Jackalas No1 which is situated on a high ground was not increased and this is what caused the problem. All the villages around Jackalas No1 are getting enough water because they are situated on a low ground where the pressure is high. Jackalas No1 is the one that is experiencing because it is on high ground while the water pressure is pumped from a lower ground to reach the destination,” Butale explained.

He was however adamant that in the near future the crisis will become a thing of the past. “The area has been allocated P200 million from World Bank to expand the water infrastructure. The tender has already been awarded and the project will start this coming April,” Butale said.

At the time of going to press WUC Spokesperson Beauty Mokoba was yet to call this reporter as promised in a text message.