The organization/ department in brief

The Department of Water Affairs lies within the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services (MLWS). The DWA’s main mandate is to assess, plan, develop and maintain water resources for domestic, agricultural, commercial, industrial and other uses in the whole country. The development and annual update of Water Accounts is spearheaded by the Water Accounting Unit which is now institutionalized with the DWA.

Why was this undertaken?

The Department of Water Affairs has aspirations of sustainable development within the water sector hence the water accounting process has been identified as a good tool to ensure valuation of water as a natural resource. The water accounting process requires engagement and management of diverse stakeholders and the community of practitioners is deemed to be a good step towards ensuring high resolution and credible peer reviewed data.

What was the scope?

The scope was to start building a community of Water Accounting practitioners so as to explain the basics of water accounting and exchange country experiences with water accounting. The focus was on  water as economic and environmental good with emphasis on: Changes in water stocks, Efficient water use, Informing institutions on water allocation, Trends in water losses/Non Revenue Water, Sectoral water efficiencies, Water supply costs & revenues (cost recovery, subsidies, etc.).

What was the role of the Government?

The Government of Botswana played the role of financing the water accounting process at the Department of Water Affairs and ensured the process is full institutionalized by setting up a water accounting unit. The government through the coordinating unit at Ministry of Finance and Economic Development ensures collection, verification and publishing of results. Regional cooperation is also coordinated through the coordinating unit.

What were the results?

The Department of Water Affairs has managed to produce and publish five SEEA styled water accounts reports covering the year 2010 to 2016 with the 6th report currently under production. Four policy briefs and two case studies have been produced. 

Next steps

It is useful to compare African experiences and challenges with those in Europe, Asia and South America. Botswana water accounting unit has already provided a benchmarking opportunity for Rwanda and this exchange between countries is encouraged. Annual production of the accounts will continue. There is need to expand the accounts but this requires further capacity building, participation in policy forums and formal training in environmental economics or natural capital accounting.