MASERU – Lesotho minister of water, Kemiso Mosenene and his South African counterpart Senzo Mchunu have agreed to fast track construction of Phase 2 of the Lesotho highlands water project, Polihali dam, and conclude it by 2027.

The two met yesterday to discuss challengers hindering the completion of the project.

“South Africa is a water scarce country; therefore, the completion of Phase 2 of the project has to be fast-tracked in order to augment the Vaal river system” Mchunu said and added that the project should be successfully completed by 2027 or earlier.

Mosenene says “Water is life and no human being can survive without it. It is for this reason that the team working on the project bears in mind the needs of those that must be served with clean water. We all have to ensure that work is being carried out and done so effectively,”

Earlier this month the African Development Bank Group announced that it had approved a $86.72 million loan for the project.

The chief executive officer of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority, Tente Tente, said the approval means South Africa’s Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority will use the funds to co-finance construction the Dam and reservoir, a 38 kilometer-long water transfer tunnel, roads and bridges, telecommunications infrastructure, and to extend electricity and other development infrastructure to Lesotho.

“The AfDB funding is for construction of the Main Works – the Dam and Tunnel – which are due to commence during the second half of 2022, so it comes at the right time, to ensure that we meet our project plan for the main works. This means we are now more likely be ready to start on time as planned and complete on schedule”

Once completed, the project is expected to boost water transfer capacity between Lesotho and South Africa to 1,260 million cubic meters/year, up from the current 780 million cubic meters/year, and enable additional generation of hydroelectric power in Lesotho