ReNOKA convened a 4- day workshop with stakeholders from government, private sector, development partners and the Climate Risk Institute to discuss the climate risks faced by the Metolong Dam system.
The Metolong Dam was constructed in 2015 to supply water to the capital city, Maseru and the surrounding urban areas in the lowlands of Lesotho. Due to climate change impacts such as soil erosion which is leading to siltation into the Metolong Dam, the dam system now faces a risk of reduced it’s life span. This therefore poses a serious concern to the livelihoods of Basotho who are benefiting from the supply of water by the dam.
The Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) methodology was used as a basis to discuss the process carried out to better understand the service reliability of water provision and structural integrity of the dam system under current and future climate conditions, at the workshop held between the 31st January – 3rd February 2023.
PIEVC protocol provides a tried & tested methodology to assess the climate risks of public infrastructure investments that can be adapted and replicated in various contexts. It’s participatory hybrid approach makes it also an ideal tool for data scarce environment.
Speaking at the workshop, the acting Commissioner of Water Lebohang Maseru said following future climate projections, the severity and urgency of water risks cannot be overlooked as water can be considered as Lesotho’s most important natural resource.
“Let us seize this opportunity to place climate risk assessment as a key priority in infrastructure planning and enable Lesotho to champion the process as a good practice in the region.”
The consideration of environmentally sustainable methods remains an important topic to prevent the increasing land degradation, soil erosion and flooding in Lesotho. This is why the government of Lesotho through the ministry of Natural Resources has taken an initiative to involve experts, stakeholders and decision makers in the related sector to collectively assess the climate vulnerabilities and risks related to the Metolong Dam and the associated system, and to identify potential measures to manage these risks and build resilience.
Following a tour at the Metolong Dam and within the surrounding communities, the stakeholders discussed the preliminary climate risks findings and agreed on the next steps. Some of the findings included flooding and compromised pumping of potable water due to increased heat levels. The recommendations will then be consolidated into a risk assessment in planning and management mechanisms of critical infrastructure systems.
The National Coordinator for the integrated catchment management (ICM), Makomoreng Fanana said with regards to ReNOKA’s risk-informed integrated catchment management approach, such assessments provide an important contribution to gaining an evidence-based systemic understanding of risks and cascading impacts related to land and water management practices as well as how these are compounded by climate change.”
The PIEVC methodology was first validated in Lesotho in August 2022, through the engagement of key stakeholders involved in the systemic risk assessment of the Metolong Dam. The process entailed identifying the phases, structures, outputs and stakeholders to be involved in the assessment exercise.
This process is supported by the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The risk assessment itself is being carried out in partnership with the Climate Risk Institute (CRI). PIEVC is hosted and promoted by an alliance of CRI, GIZ and the Institute for Catastrophic Risk Reduction (ICLR).
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
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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)’