HC Deb 06 July 1961 vol 643 cc1632-3
9. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will state approximately the cost of procuring adequate water supplies in Bechuanaland; what surveys for this purpose have been made: whether the provision of water is to be confined to the area of the new administrative capital; and what is the number of the staff that will be transferred from Mafeking as soon as water, other essential services and accommodation have been made available.

Mr. Braine

It is not possible to estimate the cost of procuring adequate water supplies in the Bechuanaland Protectorate until it is known what underground resources exist and the reliability of surface water supplies has been proved. The High Commissioner allocated £725,000 in the five-year development period 1955–60 to the development of underground and surface water supplies throughout the Territory. A sum of £450,000 is being spent in the current development period on the continuation of this work. This includes the cost of surveys, not only for potential sites for a new administrative capital but for the Territory as a whole, since water is a pre-requisite of general economic development.

It is estimated that about 200 staff will be moved from Mafeking.

Mr. Sorensen

While I appreciate fully the very great difficulties in this matter, may I ask whether that Answer means that every endeavour will be made to provide an adequate water supply other than in the contemplated capital?

Mr. Braine

Yes, Sir.