Tap Turned On For Highlands Hydro Project
In a mutually beneficial agreement, the South African government has agreed to fund the next phase in the Lesotho Highlands Water project , which will provide hydroelectric power generation capacity for Lesotho and secure water supplies for South Africa. The SAR12bn (US$1.3bn) project will be funded by South Africa who will seek the majority of the capital from institutional lenders. It is due to be completed by 2020.
Between 1000MW and 1200MW is expected to be produced by the scheme, which will aid Lesotho's economy which is heavily dependent on the mining industry. South's Africa's economy will also gain a boost from the development, as the additional water supply from Lesotho has been earmarked for two major developments planned for Lephalale near Vryburg, where new mines are being established, and for strategic infrastructure projects planned for Steelpoort.
This is part of the Highlands Water Project that has been in existence since 1986 when the first phase was implemented. However, in 2011 the project was shelved in light of a hydro electric element being cancelled. The new project will see the construction by South Africa of the Polihali Dam and connecting tunnels, with Lesotho building another new dam near Polihali. Both dams will feed the existing Katse Dam providing water for South Africa. The hydropower will be generated for Lesotho from these three dams. The announcement that South Africa will fund the hydro power section of the project relieves fears that the second phase of the agreement would not include power generation capacity for Lesotho.
|Lesotho's Economy To Get Hydro Boost|
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