Lesotho gets M280m for water projects

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Bereng Mpaki

LESOTHO is set to receive a combined US$21.4 million (about M280.2 million) to bankroll water supply and sanitation projects.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council on Monday approved the release of US$4 million to complement the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) US$17 million funding for Lesotho’s water supply and sanitation projects.

The funding, which was mobilised under the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) of the GEF, is expected to address constraints in Lesotho’s water and sanitation sector related to increasing populations in the peri-urban areas; economic growth and higher demand; geographical isolation; dearth of public utilities and regulation and high costs of water provision and the water stress caused by increasing climate change and variability.

“The second project (Lesotho) is the Climate Change Adaptation for Sustainable Rural Water Supply in Lowlands, Lesotho, which will be financed by GEF for an indicative amount of US $4.4 million and co-financed by the AfDB to the tune of US $17 million,” said a joint statement from GEF and AfDB released on Tuesday.

“The project will improve livelihoods of the communities of the southwestern lowlands facing challenges related to climate change with a particular emphasis on better resources management.”

It is set to benefit 65 000 inhabitants of the areas, who are currently served with inadequate levels of safe water supply and sanitation.

The water and sanitation problems in the lowlands of Lesotho, the statement noted, had been exacerbated by the frequent occurrences of extreme droughts.

“The overall diminishing amount of rainfall is a source of grave concern for the sustainability of sources of domestic water.

“This has had dire consequences for the livelihood and well-being of the people in the region particularly the vulnerable rural communities. The burgeoning rural communities also place mounting pressure on the already precarious water resources.”

The project is also meant to support additional measures to increase the resilience of drinking water availability in vulnerable areas through supply-augmenting and demand-control measures, combined with the protection of micro-watersheds and water supply sources from climate-induced droughts and floods.

The Director for Climate Change and Green Growth Anthony Nyong, AfDB said: “Through this funding from the GEF/LDCF, the AfDB will support communities in Lesotho to improve its resilience to climate change and ability to respond to drought and floods conditions while supporting the construction of more resilient infrastructure and more sustainable natural resource management practices.

“The AfDB is committed to triple its annual climate finance to reach US $5 billion annually by 2020, thereby scaling up adaptation finance in Africa.”

The statement further noted that the additional financing from LDCF would enhance the impact of the project, “particularly with respect to resilience, sustainability of water facilities and natural resource management in the face of climatic shocks”.

“These additional resources will further contribute to improving the peoples’ living conditions,” it added.

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