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Water shutdown: legislature to engage municipalities

By Libuseng Nyaka

QWAQWA – The chairperson of the portfolio committee on cooperate governance and office of the premier Sam Mashinini says he will be back in Thabo Mofutsanyana to engage with municipalities on how the shutdown of Lesotho highlands water will affect them.

Mashinini told this to residents of Thabo Mofutsanyana at a public hearing held at Phuthuditjhaba multi-purpose hall on following an announcement by department of Water and Sanitation that the Lesotho Highlands Water tunnel will shut down from October 1 2024 to March 31 2025 due to maintenance work.

He said the purpose of the meeting was to engage with the residents from municipalities that will be affected by the shutdown and how it will impact on them.
“We will be back to meet with the residents about the temporary shutdown of the Lesotho Highlands water to engage on the impact of this closure,” Mashinini said.

The shutdown of the Lesotho highlands water tunnel for six months was announced by the department of Water and Sanitation in April 2024 and it indicated that the shutdown will have implications for water supply to South Africa during that period.

In an advertisement that water and sanitation development published last week in this publication April,19,2024, it said the Vaal River systems, users along the Liebenbergsvlei river, as well as Mafube, Nketoana, and Dihlabeng local municipalities in Free State will be affected.
According to the department, plans have been put in place by the municipalities together with the department of water and sanitation to ensure reliable water supply during this period.

Residents are encouraged to use water sparingly and adhere to water restrictions applying to their areas.
The Lesotho Highlands Water Project is a large-scale water supply scheme in which water is diverted from the highlands of Lesotho to South Africa’s Free State and the greater Johannesburg area.

The project is designed to transfer over 1.27 billion cubic metres of water annually from Lesotho to South Africa, providing a vital water supply to the Gauteng region’s cities and industries.

Launched in January 1998, it was developed in partnership with the governments of Lesotho and South Africa. It involved the construction of a series of dams, reservoirs and tunnels throughout Lesotho. These all deliver water to the Vaal River system in South Africa.