WUC Losses P5.1 Million In Infrastructure Vandalism

Date:

The Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) this week held a critical workshop in Maun to address the pressing issue of vandalism impacting water infrastructure in the North West Region, which has led to a loss of P5.1 million in the past year alone.

The event revealed staggering statistics, with P1.9 million spent on repairing broken water systems and a consequent loss of P3.2 million in revenue, leading to a total financial loss of P5.1 million.

Peter Sedingwe, the Strategy & Corporate Director of WUC, expressed deep concern over the situation, stating, “Batswana are losing a lot from the vandalism of water infrastructure. It is a sad situation that is unfortunately caused by our own people. We are not conscious of the ramifications that these crimes cause, which negatively affect all of us.”

The conference, themed “Our Water Infrastructure & Livelihood: Together We Can Change the Situation – Stop Vandalism,” aimed to raise awareness about the severity and prevalence of vandalism in the North West Region. It also sought to create a platform for stakeholders to discuss strategies and collaborate on solutions to combat the issue.

Statistics cited during the conference painted a troubling picture, with Maun experiencing the highest pipeline vandalism cases at 240, followed by Chanoga and Makalamabedi, each with 96 cases in the past 12 months alone.

The situation is further exacerbated by Maun leading in stolen water meters made of brass, with 60 recorded cases in the last year. Alarmingly, within just two months this year (April and May), there have been 75 recorded cases, signaling a troubling upward trend.

These disturbing trends highlighted during the workshop described theft of water meters and copper wires, as well as the breaking of water pipes. While some pipes were cited to be broken by wildlife, the majority of the destruction was revealed to have been caused by residents seeking water for their livestock.

Vandalism has far-reaching effects, with communities suffering socially and economically. Areas like Chanoga are facing dire water scarcity, while other areas suffering from pipeline vandalism often reported discoloration of water which shows an indication of water pollution, discoloration, and increased health risks.

Sedingwe underscored the broader implications of the issue, stating, “Water is abundant enough to supply the whole country with ease, but the machinery and systems are not in place due to rampant vandalism. There are cases where WUC fixes something in an area, and within one day, the machinery is stolen.”

The workshop concluded with a tense but constructive dialogue, with participants advocating for greater public involvement in reporting these crimes, similar to neighborhood watch programs. There was also a call for more severe laws to deter such crimes and educational initiatives to inform people about the societal impact of vandalism.

Sedingwe concluded by appealing to the public, “I would like to appeal to Batswana to galvanize together to fight against vandalism and help secure water security for all Botswana. This is not a fight for one man or woman it is something we all have a part in to make a change for the better.”

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