On a crisp fall day in Botswana, the family of Batsile Olekile, villagers in Shoshong Town, are busy preparing lunch. They are rinsing the tableware and washing the fresh vegetables and fruits with cool tap water. This used to be a rare experience for the Olekiles.
"Since the operation of the Mahalapye Water Treatment Plant, we no longer have to worry about the water being cut off when doing laundry and cooking," Batsile said.
Water shortages were common in Shoshong for the past few years. "We used to experience water shortages that usually lasted for one month. At that time, we had to fetch well water from another village 23 kilometers away, which was very inconvenient," said Batsile's sister. Those difficulties are now a thing of the past. "After the completion of the new water plant, we have never encountered a water cutoff again!"
The Mahalapye Water Treatment Plant is located in Mahalapye Town, 50 kilometers from Shoshong. The plant expansion project was undertaken by China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) Botswana.
The daily water purification capacity increased from 16,000 cubic meters to 34,000 cubic meters, a dramatic improvement in the local water supply capacity. Water supply expanded to villages about 70 kilometers away, which alleviated shortages of the residents to a great extent.
"The completion of the new water plant ensures that we can produce enough water to meet the daily needs. We are now using chlorine dioxide disinfectant for disinfection. Compared with the chlorine disinfectant used before, the effect is better and more durable. In addition, the new water plant has also added an activated carbon filtration process, which greatly improves the water quality," said Badubi Ntsatsi, the plant manager.
On April 25, 2022, the Mahalapye Water Treatment Plant opened to the public to let the local community understand how it works. Chief of Mahalapye Tshipe Tshipe and City Councillor Sam Kelebale attended the event. "Water is the main resource to our living. There is no life if there is no water. The new water plant has solved the problem of water shortage. I am very grateful to CSCEC for its excellent completion of this project," said Chief Tshipe Tshipe.
The project also provided a large number of employment opportunities for local people. Kelebale indicated that the municipal administration department had not received any complaints from local employees. Even during the COVID-19 outbreaks, the project did not dismiss an employee due to operation stress. It is understood that during the construction, there were a total of 260 employees, 218 of which were local.
"We are so happy because there is finally no water shortage anymore," Batsile said. The upgraded plant has breathed new life into Mahalapye and its surrounding areas. Life has become easier for residents, who no longer need to travel long distances in search of water.
Over 30 years of operation in Botswana, CSCEC has always regarded giving back to the local people and community as its due responsibility, and used practical actions to build a bridge of friendship between China and Botswana.