The Makhalaneng sub-catchment is part of the Makhaleng Catchment Management Area located in the southwest of Maseru.
On the east, it is bordered by the summit of Thabana-Li-‘Mele in the Thaba Putsoa range. On the west, the mountain ridge constitutes Popa and others such as Thaba Mautse. The sub-catchment is about 40 km away from the capital town, Maseru.
Makhalaneng falls in the “foothills-agroecological zone”, with the following coordinates (29°34’30.33″S, 27°44’42.95″E) at an altitude of 1920m above sea level. Covering 27 322 hectares with a population of more than 13,000, the Makhalaneng sub-catchment has been identified by the national ReNOKA programme as a hotspot area that requires rehabilitation of its degraded land and water resources. The area has high rates of food poverty, prevalent in younger age groups and villagers often receive most of their monthly income from pension grants and farming.
Most residents in the villages of the Makhalaneng sub-catchment do not have access to clean water in their homes, with 45% of people making use of public taps, while around 27% of villagers use unprotected springs for drinking and ablutions.
Despite this, 55% of residents in Makhalaneng own livestock, with farming playing an important role in maintaining livelihoods.
Wetland rehabilitation is an important part of managing land and water resources in Makhalaneng as overgrazing and grazing in wetlands have caused erosion and soil runoff. Other programmes in the area have already tackled these issues. Programmes such as ‘Send a Cow’ have successfully shown supporting farmers where not to let their cattle graze. Yet there is still much to be done in maintaining these practices as a common misconception in the area is that wetlands are a threat to croplands and if left alone, will take up all of the cropland.
By reconnecting Basotho with indigenous farming methods, ReNOKA is working with the local farmers in educating and informing them that croplands will not be affected by wetlands. However, the destruction of wetlands may lead to increased soil erosion and habitat destruction for various species of plants and animals and can impact on surrounding croplands. Moreover, wetland destruction is negatively impacting the water availability in streams, meaning that in time to come, villagers will start to directly feel the impact of wetland destruction.
ReNOKA is working to highlight the importance of wetlands as biodiverse hubs of life and important sources of water storage for times of drought.
Through ReNOKA’s Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) approach, solutions have been implemented to help communities understand how best to protect their land and water resources. By setting up Community Watershed Teams consisting of villagers from the Makhalaneng sub-catchment area, ReNOKA has been able to undertake the following rehabilitation practices:
- Establishment of local ICM structures such as Village watershed teams and Community watershed teams (CWTs) mobilizing local communities for sustainable catchment management and rehabilitation
- Establishment of a Catchment planning and Implementation Unit (CPU) to guide ICM planning and implementation
- Training of CWTs and the CPU on Natural Resource Management and Marketing basics with the latter aiming at increasing alternative incomes for local communities
- Undertaking of transect walks with CWTs and CPU and ICM visionings in order to support the development of CWT ICM action plans which have then informed the development Community Council ICM Action Plans in Kubake, Manonyane, Likolobeng
- Preparation of Phase B Emergency Rehabilitation Measures in Ha Moitsupeli including orchard and irrigated agriculture.
- Conducting Climate Risk and vulnerability assessments of the catchment management area of the Makhaleng to start developing a pluriannual Integrated Catchment Management and Development Plan for the Makhaleng.
- Continuation of Phase A Emergency Rehabilitation Measures at Ha-Potiane.
- Local communities benefited from Covid Relief Cash for Work at the Puete wetland. Based on the positive results, neighbouring villages were motivated to voluntarily remove the invasive species.
To join the ReNOKA movement in rehabilitating land and water resources around Lesotho, click here: https://renoka.org/get-involved/
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)’