Lesotho Water Project Phase II to Be Completed in 2025

Pretoria — The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) Phase II is envisaged to be completed in 2025, says Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane.

Minister Mokonyane made the announcement on Wednesday when she appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation in Parliament.

The Minister said the project will ensure that the country is better equipped to deal with the effects of climate change.

"We have also taken a lot of lessons from Phase I, which will assist in ensuring the proper implementation of Phase II, such as establishment of clear lines of accountability from the two governments in the project and prioritisation of the national interests of Basotho and South Africans," said Minister Mokonyane.

The LHWP Phase II, being the largest water project of its kind due for implementation in the world currently, is set to benefit the national, regional and international interests of South Africa and Lesotho.

The Minister said these benefits are not limited to water supply only; they stretch to economic empowerment in line with Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment principles.

Meanwhile, Minister Mokonyane told the portfolio committee that it will be gravely misleading to suggest that the current water challenges facing the country is caused by the delay in the LHWP.

"The project was never meant to be operational in 2016."

The Minister attributed the severity of the current drought to the unfavourable climatic conditions and the intensity of the El Nino phenomenon that has hit the country's shores causing a visible knock on dam levels, resulting in water shortages and the country experiencing its lowest rainfalls in 95 years.

She urged people to acknowledge that both South Africa and Lesotho have immensely benefitted from the completion of Phase I through clean water supply, which South Africans enjoy.

She, however, said that there has been minimal benefit in terms of economic empowerment and skills and social development for the people of both countries.

SOURCE: http://www.sanews.gov.za/