Lesotho begins to feel effects of SA’s drought | Infrastructure news

Orange-Senqu River Basin

Orange-Senqu River Basin.

The Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) annual meeting was held this month to address pertinent water issues faced by several southern African countries.

Water ministers from several of the SADC countries discussed the growing number of challenges that the region is facing and also addressed the need to find innovative methods to ensure the sustainability of the resource.

Orange-Senqu River Commission

One of the plans implemented to aid the water crisis is the Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM) that was established in 2000. It aims to manage the trans-boundary water resources of the Orange-Senqu River basin. The basin occupies a large area across several countries including South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia.

These countries will benefit from a new multinational transboundary project that aims to prepare a Climate Resilient Water Resources Investment Strategy and Multipurpose Project for the river basin.

The project’s main goal is to promote sustainable socio-economic growth in the four countries through climate resilient water resources development.

The project is also said to foster enhanced sustainable water resources management of the basin, secure an increased number of investments based on better planning, which will allow more multipurpose projects to address the livelihood needs of communities living in rural and urban areas around the basin.

Water ministers weigh in

Previous reports have indicated that while Namibia has been one of the hardest hit countries, South Africa and Botswana were also severely affected by the drought, however Lesotho was not.

Botswana’s Land Management and Water and Sanitation minister, Prince Maele said the country had a “serious problem of water” and could not overcome it alone. “We need other people who can help because Botswana is almost a desert – we don’t have enough water,” he said.

Namibia’s Agriculture and Water & Forestry minister, John Mutorwa said that the issue ofwater scarcity “brought us together to deliberate not only on its importance but on collective responsibility in terms of managing it collectively but also utilise it for life”.

On the same note, South Africa’s minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, said it was sharing that was the key to surviving the water crisis.

Lesotho takes strain

Although Lesotho has not felt severe effects of the drought, projects such as the Lesotho Highlands Water Project that has sustained portions of South Africa with water, it has begun to feel pressure on its resources.

Lesotho’s water minister Kimetso Mathaba said: “We are affected with the shortage of water because of the drought which is taking place all over but luckily on our side we are on top at the source of the water.”

A commission was set up at the annual meeting and aims to find solutions to aid at least 14 million people.

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