Briefing Paper

Water Governance in Botswana

“Botswana is water scarce, with endemic drought and varied rainfall. In order
to meet increases in water demand efficiently and sustainably, greater policy
coherence and implementation is needed. The government acknowledges the
principles of integrated water resources management (IWRM), but this is largely
rhetorical. Water management is still centralised and stakeholder participation
is often non-existent. The 1991 National Water Master Plan (NWMP) and its
2006 Review (NWMPR) have guided water resource management. In 2013, an
IWRM-water efficiency (IWRM-WE) plan was approved with a detailed action
programme. These reforms aim to separate the institutional responsibilities
for water provision, management and regulation; review finances, tariffs and
subsidies; and review water policy and legislation. However, implementation
has been slow. The 2012 draft water policy awaits approval by Parliament and
the Water Act has not been revised since its enactment in 1968. Without these
institutional arrangements, future water supplies will likely be jeopardised. This
policy briefing describes and analyses Botswana’s water governance structure.
It argues that institutional reform in demand management and conservation is
crucial to ensure a sustainable supply of water.”