Maseru, 01 September 2022
Enhancing the climate resilience of Metolong Dam System
Metolong Dam was constructed by the government of Lesotho to provide water supply for the capital city Maseru and the surrounding urban areas in the lowlands of Lesotho. The construction commenced in August 2013, and it was completed in February 2015.
The dam has brought a significant impact to the country and boosted the economy by supplying domestic and industrial water. The Environmental and Social management component of the dam’s project contributed to the creation of jobs, capacitation of the community through skills trainings, while other households were connected to the electricity systems for the first time.
The main water service provision of Metolong dam includes household and industrial usage. For instance, textile industries which contribute significantly to the economy of Lesotho use water from Metolong dam. With all these, the serviceability of Metolong Dam System is a key element of broader economic development.
However, the changing climatic conditions which result in the rise in temperature levels, more frequent droughts and other extreme climatic events, have increased erosion, thereby putting the biosphere around the Metolong Dam at risk.
The dam is also at risk of increased levels of sediment due to human activities happening around the dam, such as agriculture. With time the sediment will reduce the storage capacity of the dam which will in turn affect service provision which the dam was intended to provide.
There is a need for sustainable and stringent mitigation pathways to make the Metolong Dam infrastructure and the entire ecosystem more resilient to climate risks. For this to happen, all key stakeholders have to take part.
To address these climate challenges facing the Metolong Dam System, the Ministry of Water in Lesotho established a partnership with the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) http://gidrm.net, which is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to foster risk-informed development and the protection of public investments and services.
Under the leadership of the Commissioner of Water, the partnership engages key stakeholders in the systemic risk assessment process for the Metolong Dam System which was selected as a pilot site to implement the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) methodology. The initiative contributes to ReNOKA (‘we are a river’), a national programme and multi-stakeholder partnership to restore land and water resources in Lesotho.
To pave way for the piloting of the assessment process, there was an inception workshop held at Thaba-Bosiu between the 24th and 25th August with the local stakeholders from the Department of Water Affairs, Department of Soil Conservation, Lesotho Chamber of Commerce, Lesotho Highlands Development Authority, Disaster Management Authority, Water and Sewage Company and UNDP amongst others.
The process was also supported by the Climate Research Institute (CRI) based in Canada and Resilience Solution from the United Kingdom.
In her opening remarks, the National ICM Deputy Coordinator Mrs Mats’olo Migwi highlighted the importance of Lesotho’s water resources as the water tower in the Southern Africa and the headwaters of the Orange-Senqu River Basin. She noted that the world is facing the climate change challenge and it is important to protect the water resources and the related infrastructures.
Speaking at the workshop, Dr. Mmaphaka Tau from Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management in the SADC Region explained the need for collective efforts to address these challenges around the Metolong Dam System. He said lack of capacitation could contribute to inadequate knowledge to identify risks and this poses a threat to limitations on making risk informed decisions.
There was also a validation of the climate risk assessment (PIEVC) methodology, to which the phases, structures, outputs and stakeholders were identified. At the end of the workshop, participants conveyed satisfaction and committed to be part of the next process steps.
To understand more about the process, please see the concept note for the workshop here:
ReNOKA (‘we are a river’) is a national programme and citizen movement for the restoration of land and water in Lesotho and the Orange-Senqu basin. Support for ReNOKA is provided through a partnership between the Government of Lesotho, the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The EU and BMZ contributions are implemented through a technical assistance project “Support to Integrated Catchment Management in Lesotho” by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
For more information
Visit the ReNOKA website at www.renoka.org
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National ICM Coordinator, ICM Coordination Unit
GIZ Programme Manager, Support to Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) in Lesotho
‘This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Integrated Catchment Management unit and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)’