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Water & Energy

Water

Water is Lesotho´s most abundant resource as well as being the country´s largest single source of foreign exchange earnings since the implementation of the Lesotho Highlands. One of Southern Africa´s principal water catchment areas, rainfall together with winter snowfalls provides an estimated 5.5 billion cubic meters of water annually and renewable groundwater resources of some 340 million cubic meters per year. Supplying the Republic of South Africa with millions of cubic metres of water per year, the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) is the largest and most ambitious long-term water transfer scheme of its kind on the continent, and has done much to develop the region’s water supply. The project supplies water locally as well as to South Africa’s Vaal Dam through the trans-Caledon tunnel. Water is transferred through a network of reservoirs at Mohale, Katse and ´Muela through the Trans Caledon tunnel and eventually into the Republic of South Africa´s Vaal Dam.

The Lesotho Highlands water Project is responsible for Lesotho´s portion of the project, with its counterpart, the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority, responsible for the South African site. Phase 2 of the LHWP is to begin in 2011, and will include the construction of the Mashai and Polihali Dams as well as additional transfer tunnels and the upgrading of the ´Muela Hydropower Power Plant. At present the LHWP supplies about 46 million cubic metres a year, and the second phase of the scheme will raise supply to some 70 million cubic metres per year. The project is expected to be completed by 2019.

 

 

 

Energy

The Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) is the country’s sole power utility provider. LEC’s customer base as at July 2005 stood at just over 45 000, of which 350 were large power users. The pressing need to extend the electricity network in Lesotho and connect more households to the national grid has for many years been hampered by lack of funds. The privatization of LEC was thus decided on as the only viable solution to providing the corporation with access to the necessary resources; expertise and technology to help achieve this aim as well as improve the quality if service to existing customers. In adopting a public service concession approach to privatization, government remains in partnership with the investors during the concession period and retains long-term control over the assets of the company.

 

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