A State and Corporate Undertaking in Water Supply and Management in Botswana, 1966-2014

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Mark Nyandoro


Many works on the history of water in Botswana emphasize the already affirmed arid status of thecountry, but not how the country’s government with the cooperation of corporate partners has, over the years, confounded the challenge of water paucity to achieve growth and development. This article, based on triangulation methods which take into account both qualitative and quantitative approaches, evaluates hydrological management and water supply in the predominantly water-scarce nation from independence in 1966 to 2014. It contends that post-independence just as pre-independence Botswana faced challenges in water management and supply wrought by desert conditions. However, by 2014 the state was able to turn the challenges into opportunities despite escalating climate change-induced dryness, its own capacity weaknesses and implementation inefficiencies, thus emphasising the point that water insecurity wrought by desert conditions did not always mean lack of development. Why and how post-colonial state officials played a vital role to secure equitable distribution of water for development against the backdrop of water shortages and funding challenges is a critical aspect of this discussion.

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