Councillors Want Water Shortage Mitigation Plan For Schools

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At the height of chronic water shortages in the district, schools have become the hardest hit a situation has affected the learning processes, and North West District councillors have called for deliberate mitigation strategies for schools.

The situation has become so dire, that lessons are disrupted to extent in some schools, learners only attend classes in the morning and are dismissed at noon, due to water shortage issues.

The most affected areas are the schools in the Sehithwa catchment area, which include Ngami Junior Secondary School where students are supposed to knock off at 1600hrs.

Councillors have argued that the situation has now escalated to crisis levels and needed intervention from the relevant authorities.

Thamalakane North councillor Gakologelwang Bethia, when deliberating on NWDC chairman Itumeleng Kelebetseng’s speech noted that he expected a detailed mitigation plan to assist schools that are hard hit by the water supply crisis.

Bethia was of the view that education should be among the council’s priorities, adding the Chairman’s speech should have prioritised the water shortage crisis, which have potential to negatively affect student’s academic performance.

“We are currently experiencing heat waves, and it becomes dangerous to keep students in classes without water to drink in this heat,’ Bethia said.

Specially elected councillor Bareetsi Bogaisang who also shared the same sentiments, was of the view that schools should be provided with water to avoid instances where students are sent back home.

“For the past 7 months Toteng Primary has been grappling with the water crisis, pupils would only attend the first classes and knock off at tea break because there was nothing for them to eat nor water to drink,” Bogaisang said. 

Bogaisang indicated that Ngami Junior Secondary School was among the worst performing schools in the district, something he attributes in part to the persistent water shortage. With the district experiencing poor academic performance, Bogaisang noted with concern that should the water situation persist, poor performance should be expected in the upcoming general PSLE, JCE and BGCSE examination results.

In his speech Kelebetseng acknowledged the water shortage challenge in the district, adding that the district was experiencing a trend in the decline of the ground water sources. He explained that the decline may be aggravated by lack of recharge from local river systems.

“The future is looking even more bleak especially with the outlook that overall a hot and dry season is anticipated over the entire country,” Kelebetseng said.

Meanwhile Water Utilities General Manager Paul Mafavune had on a previous interview indicated that villages around Lake Ngami and its catchment areas have for the past months been experiencing a dry spell as the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) Semolo water treatment plant is unable to meet the water demand of the areas. He however assured that the situation is being dealt with as they currently working on constructing anther treatment plant to serve the villages.

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