The multibillion rand water project, unveiled in Maseru by the South African and Lesotho governments, could be the answer to the water challenges facing South Africa, authorities said.
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and her Lesotho counterpart, Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki, launched Phase 2 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
Described as a milestone by both governments, the initiative was established by a treaty signed between the two countries in 1986 to stimulate growth and economic development through water resources development projects. Phase two includes the construction of a 165m3 capacity dam at Polihali in the Mohotlong district. It will consist of two major reservoirs enclosed by a 145m high dam, one of the largest in the continent.
Apart from stimulating economic growth in the two countries, officials said the water will meet the industrial and domestic water needs of Gauteng, while simultaneously generating hydropower for Lesotho. Construction is expected to start in 2012, with water transfer estimated to begin in late 2018. Molewa described the agreement as confirming the “long time” economic cooperation that had existed between Lesotho and South Africa, adding that the project will go a long way in addressing the economic needs of both countries.
She said steps were also being taken to ensure that communities and the small business sector from both countries benefit from the project with Moleleki, saying Maseru stood to attract about R1.5 billion annually from the scheme.
Electricity generated by the planned 1200 MW hydropower plant will also be accessed by Eskom in a deal to be signed by the power utility Lesotho’s officials. Cabinet has approved both projects, with President Zuma and the Prime Minister of Lesotho having given the go ahead for its implementation at a meeting in Maseru.
Moleleki added that the agreement will not only focus on hydropower, but will see both countries exploring renewable energy, including solar and wind power.
SA – the Good News via BuaNews
I cannot help but to wonder who is going to pay for all this…….