The Lesotho-Botswana Water Transfer (L-BWTS) Scheme is being conducted in terms of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed in 2017 between the governments of Lesotho, Botswana, and South Africa. In terms of this agreement, a dam will be constructed along the Makhaleng river in the southern lowlands of Lesotho. The project shall supply Botswana with water through a conveyance water pipeline going through South Africa. It will further provide the three countries with electricity to complement the system power needs of the local towns in the countries.
Seinoli Legal Centre (SLC), a public interest law centre that protects the rights of communities affected by the construction of dams and large infrastructure in Lesotho, has consulted the 21 would-be-affected communities to determine their awareness of the L-BWT project and the impact thereof. No official information or communication has been made to the communities regarding the project which indicates that the principle of Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) has not been applied to communities to be affected by the project. The standards of living and livelihoods of communities living along the river will be greatly affected, as they will be forced to resettle to make way for the dam and their land and natural resources will be lost to the dam. These communities have a right to be informed and consulted about decisions which affect their lives.
The SLC calls on the project authorities, in particular ORASECOM which is the executing body to ensure that members of communities to be affected are put at the center of this project and that their rights and interests are respected.