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LHDA launches water system for Katse villagers


Nthatuoa Koeshe

THE Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) this week launched a project that will provide water to Sephareng villagers in Katse.

It is expected to relieve water challenges for at least 1 170 households in the area who could not access tapped water in the past.

The launch was officiated by Minister of Water Nkaku Kabi.

The launch is part of the LHDA’s water supply and sanitation (WATSAN) programme targeting communities surrounding the authority’s dams.

At least 6 300 people from 1 170 households in 24 villages in the Katse and Ha-Lejone areas are expected to benefit from the water system.

However, the celebrations were short lived as the villagers expressed fears that the tap would soon be vandalised by herd boys leaving them with no access to portable water.

Chairperson of the Rural Water Supply Hlaeng Chopho said vandalism was one of the major challenges that they face in providing water to villagers.

“The major challenge is that herd boys vandalise the water systems and that behaviour takes us back to where people must travel long distances to fetch water because repairing the equipment takes time,” Mr Chopho said.

The LHDA said when complete, the WATSAN programme is expected to provide water to 27 000 villagers in 101 villages in the Katse, Ha-Lejone and Matsoku villages by the end of 2020.

For his part, Mr Kabi said the best way to ensure that herd boys do not vandalise water systems was by building drinking ponds for their animals.

“To avoid vandalism, herd boys should also get water supply for their livestock so that they do not see the need to vandalise water systems,” Mr Kabi said.

He said the water supply system was the LHDA’s way of thanking the villagers for supporting the construction of the Katse dam, which has immensely benefited the country in the form of royalties.

“The LHDA has been selling water to South Africa for many years, so this water system is their way of saying thank you.”

He also urged the villagers to desist from starting veld fires to enable wetlands to protect and absorb more water during the rainy seasons.

“We must not start veld fires because if our pastures remain intact, then we will be able to survive dry seasons.”

Mahase Thokoa, from the LHDA said it has always been their mission to improve the lives of Sephareng villagers and the WATSAN programme had come in handy.

“This programme started a few years ago with the aim of promoting cleanliness and since we have always wanted to improve the lives of Sephareng villagers, we first built toilets and now we finally managed to bring water,” Mr Thokoa said.

Makopano Mosutu, villager from the area said they were worried that the water system would soon be vandalised by vindictive villagers who also want taps erected closer to their homes.

“We have always had problems with people who cut pipes because they feel it’s better for everyone else not to have water if they do not it have it closer to their homes. So, if those issues are not addressed, we will soon return to carrying water buckets for long distances,” Ms Mosutu said.

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