Water Pricing: A Key to Sustainable Water Supply and Demand Management in Southern Africa: A Comparative Study of Botswana and Zimbabwe

W.L. Hambira (Botswana) and C.P. Gandidzanwa (Zimbabwe)


Water Pricing, demand management, Botswana, Zimbabwe


Water prices in many Southern African countries are highly subsidised since water is considered an essential public good. This encourages unsustainable use of the resource resulting in over expansion of water supply facilities to meet increases in water demand emanating from population growth, urbanization, global climate change and other socio-economic factors. Several tools have been adopted for water demand management such as public education, regulatory tools, operation and maintenance tools as well as economic and financial tools. This paper focuses on the use of economic and financial tools specifically Water Pricing to promote sustainable water supply and demand management. It examines the tariff structure adopted by Botswana and Zimbabwe and provides recommendations on how best the two countries can adopt a sustainable water pricing regime that would ensure sustainable water supply. Both countries have been found to have adopted the Increasing Block Rate (IBR) tariff regime. Even though this regime is supposed to encourage conservation, it falls short of giving water is true value that reflects its scarcity due to the fact that it does not incorporate environmental costs such as harm caused by pollution and damage to the environment during exploration for new water supply facilities.

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