lesotho highlands water project image

Katse Dam, Lesotho.

Design and construction supervision on the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) will be undertaken by the Matla a Metsi Joint Venture.

The announcement was made by the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) last week.

Phase II of the project mainly includes construction of the Polihali Dam and the primary layout preparation (design) of the dam is set to commence this month. The project will cost R445 million.

Refiloe Tlali, chief executive of the LHDA, said the pre-qualification process achieved its objective and produced a shortlist of well qualified firms for the dam design, while maintaining free competition among the bidders.

“We are confident that the Matla a Metsi team has the capability, skills and experience, and depth of resources to undertake the engineering design and construction supervision of the Polihali dam,” she said.

The joint venture will bring together international experts, as well as those from South Africa and Lesotho. Some of the companies included in the project are GIBB, Mott MacDonald Africa, Tractebel Engineering SA and Coyne et Bellier, and LYMA Consulting Engineers.

Services and skills development

The scope of services will include reviewing the geotechnical and other project information, the engineering design of the Polihali Dam and appurtenant structures, the procurement of construction contracts and supervising the construction on behalf of the client.

“Skills development and technology transfer to Lesotho and South African nationals and the training of LHDA staff for the purposes of operating the dam are important components of the consultancy contract,” the LHDA said.

Polihali Dam construction

The Polihali Dam comprises a 164m high concrete faced rock fill dam (CFRD) on the Senqu River, a 50m high CFRD saddle dam, a concrete side-channel spillway, a free standing compensation outlet tower and appurtenant works.

The design period will take approximately eighteen months followed by the procurement of the construction contractor. The LHDA said dam construction is expected to commence in December 2019 or January 2020, and that it is envisaged to be impounded during the wet season of 2023.

“Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project builds on the successful completion of Phase I in 2003,” Tlali said. “It delivers water to the Gauteng region of South Africa and utilises the water delivery system to generate hydro-electricity for Lesotho.

“Phase II will increase the current supply rate of 780 million cubic metres per annum incrementally to more than 1,270 million cubic metres per annum,” she added. “At the same time, it will increase the quantity of electricity generated in Lesotho and is a further step in the process of securing an independent electricity source to meet Lesotho’s domestic requirements.”

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