Multi-billion Pula Chobe-Zambezi water transfer scheme takes shape

The Projects | Water

Government is moving swiftly to commence the highly anticipated Chobe – Zambezi water scheme, the biggest state engineering project since North South Carrier pipeline and Morupule B power plant.

Conceptualization, feasibility studies have been completed, paving way for the project to be set in motion.  The multi-billion pula project will draw water from the mighty Chobe River. About 495 million cubic meters of water per annum will be extracted from the Chobe/Zambezi River System at Kazungula in the Chobe District.

A pipeline clocking over 500 kilometres will cut across various terrains of this country, delivering the most precious and scarce resource. Half of the water will, immediately after pipeline take off, be delivered to Pandamatenga farms for agricultural purposes, mainly for the proposed Zambezi Integrated Agro-Commercial Development Project (ZIADP).

Deliberating on the matter mid-October, Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) Technical Director Ketshambiwa Moatlhodi said after Pandamatenga the pipeline will pass through Nata and Gweta to Maun, then Letlhakane-Orapa.

Moatlhodi revealed that this water will be used for industrial purposes. “This water will be taken off by some mining operations such as Khoemacau, Orapa Letlhakane Mines, Morupule amongst other industrial operations,” he said.

Moatlhodi indicated that the remaining water will end up in Gaborone to further feed the greater Gaborone area.“We want to have as many contingency water supply channels as possible in Gaborone, remember we once had a situation where Gaborone Dam was drying up. This posed serious danger to the economy and livelihoods of Batswana in this part of the country. We want to be ready whenever that happens again because it’s a climate issue,” the Water Utilities Corporation Technical Director explained.

The Chobe Pipeline will discharge into the existing North- South Carrier Water Project at Break Pressure Tank (BPT1) near Selibe–Phikwe. Main design components of the scheme are designs for the river intake, 550 Km pipeline, pump stations, water collector dams, break pressure tanks, telemetry, SCADA, topographical (aerial) and geotechnical surveys.

Government is yet to release expression of interest for the works, there are various funding models currently being explored such as Public Private Partnership (PPP) amongst others.

Last month Water Utilities Corporation floated an advert seeking serious companies to bid for provision of transactional advisory services to coil a winning financing model for the project.  The tender closed on the 7th of October 2021 and adjudication is ongoing.

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