The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) will again be showcased at the Rand Show from the 8th to the 13th of April 2020, having participated in 2019. The project, which already provides the single largest contribution to Gauteng’s supply of potable water, aims to further strengthen its relationships with the people of Gauteng through face to face interaction at the new-look Rand Show 2020.

The LHWP is a binational project established as the result of a treaty between Lesotho and South Africa, signed in October 1986, on a shared benefits basis. According to the Treaty, the purpose of the Project can be outlined as follows:

  • To transfer high quality water from Lesotho to South Africa
  • To generate hydropower for Lesotho
  • To carry out ancillary development in Lesotho

Water from the Project is drawn from the headwaters of the Senqu (also known as the Orange River in South Africa) in Lesotho and delivered to the Vaal Dam. Rand Water then draws water for purification from the Vaal Dam and transports it via canals and pipelines to their two purification stations, where it is cleaned and treated to a standard suitable for humans to drink.

Rand Water sells water to local authorities and some mines and factories. Local authorities then supply households, schools and businesses in Gauteng and parts of Mpumalanga, North West, Free State and Limpopo Provinces with clean water purchased from Rand Water.

The project is also supported by the two other states within the Orange-Senqu basin – Botswana and Namibia. This major water resources development endeavour has become a world-class example of equity-based benefit sharing around a shared water course. The four countries constitute the basin organisation called the Orange-Senqu Water Commission (ORASECOM). Studies are at an advanced stage to assess the feasibility of supplying water to Botswana and South Africa’s North West Province from Lesotho as well.

Phase I of the project is now complete. This phase consisted of two large dams – Mohale and Katse – and a hydropower plant linked by tunnels that will eventually deliver water to South Africa. The implementation of Phase II, consisting of Polihali Dam and a tunnel linking the new dam to (the Phase I), Katse Dam, has begun.

Having won several accolades for engineering excellence in Phase I, this presents an opportunity for organisers to demonstrate world-leading responses to the environmental and social challenges that come with mega-projects like the LHWP. Project authorities have already demonstrated their willingness and flexibility when it comes to renewing and improving its environmental and social policies to keep up with international trends and practices. The LHWP is keen to share these and other lessons with visitors to the Project stand at Rand Show 2020.

LHWP’s stand at Rand Show 2020 is an opportunity to open a discussion on our shared responsibility to protect water as a finite resource and use it sparingly. Likewise, the threat of climate change demands our common resolve to develop effective mitigation and adaptation measures.

To see the LHWP and find out more about their exciting efforts to build water security in South Africa, book your Rand Show 2020 tickets online at www.randshow.co.za. All online bookings made before the 31st of March 2020 qualify for substantial discounts.