Southern Africa: Lesotho Highlands Water Project Won't Fix Gauteng's Infrastructure and Supply Woes, Experts Warn


Phase 2 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, expected to be completed in 2028, could provide Gauteng with enough water for all. But unless municipalities fix their ageing infrastructure, additional supply won't help.

South Africa's government expected that Gauteng's burgeoning population would require additional water sources and the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) was its answer to prevent a possible water crisis.

The LHWP Treaty was signed in 1986, but almost 40 years later Gauteng's water supply faces long-term disruptions, and any potential solution is likely to come at a hefty cost.

With Phase 2 of the LHWP expected to finally be completed in 2028 after being beset by delays, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and its stakeholders are looking to implement a communications strategy to promote cautious water consumption and management. They've warned, however, that water supply could remain constrained even after the LHWP is complete.

"The minister of water and sanitation is coordinating regular meetings with Rand Water and the mayors of the Gauteng municipalities. In addition, officials from Rand Water and the Gauteng municipalities are having daily meetings to ensure improved coordination of responses to disruptions in supply," DWS spokesperson Wisane Mavasa said about the response to the current challenges.

Gauteng municipalities buy most of their treated water from Rand Water, which abstracts raw water from the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS) and treats it so that it...

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