Potential impacts of the Lesotho-Botswana Water Transfer Scheme.

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.
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Botswana set to draw water from Lesotho: Is Lesotho ready to venture into another water development?

Lesotho has approved to venture into a water scheme with Botswana and South Africa. The $2.3 million Mega dam project funded by the African Development Bank (ADB) was agreed on by the three countries in 2013. Makhaleng river has been identified as a suitable site for the construction of the dam and the proposed project is currently at its feasibility study phase. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) were signed by the concerned parties to undertake the feasibility studies for the Lesotho-Botswana Water Transfer Scheme, however, none of the host communities identified to be directly affected by this dam have any information pertaining to this project nor activities underpinning the feasibility.
The below article illustrates the potential impact the water scheme poses if proper procedures are not followed by the implementing authorities.
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A different dimension of the food security issue

A different dimension of the food security issue is addressed by the story of Malehloa Sefao of Ha Rafanyane. Sefao narrated that compensation was calculated and delivered by the LHDA, ultimately cheated them as affected households. The bags of maize that they were offered by LHDA at the beginning of the construction of the dam were far bigger than what they are now being offered. The size of the bag of food supplies they were given has reduced. The bags are far smaller than they used to as illustrated in the picture below. The villagers were first given 50kg bag of maize and now it has been reduced to 25 kg.

Sefao then further noted that three women from the village by the names of Mateboho Motsamai, Mathabiso Mohobane and Manyatso Seafo used to run a gardening project but their garden was swallowed by the dam. These women supplied freshly grown vegetables from their garden which villagers now have to travel longer distance to purchase.

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Nkhono Manthabiseng Boi 

Nkhono Manthabiseng Boi is a 90 year old resident of Ha Lesaoana. Prior to the construction of the dam, she had fields from which she harvested several crops including maize, pumpkin, beans and peas. On average she harvested six bags of maize annually and now she is only receiving 2 bags of maize for her lost fields which she says no longer sustains her and the family throughout the year.

Nkhono Manthabiseng said she ultimately opted for cash compensation thinking it would change her situation for the better. Sadly, this did not help her situation at all as the M2, 000 she now receives as cash compensation still falls far short of meeting the food needs of her entire family for a whole year.

The famous and beautiful white gold of the mountain kingdom has left many landless and in great poverty wondering what tomorrow holds for them (hopeless).

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