Access to clean drinking water for every Mosotho is a priority for the government of Lesotho, as such the commissioning of two big water projects; Urban and Peri – Urban Water Supply and Rural Water Supply and Sanitation project at Ha ‘Makhoroana, in Berea on 26th June was an important day for the Government and the people of Lesotho.
People from Mapoteng, Ha ‘Makhoroana, Ha Khokhoba and other villages came in multitudes to show their gratitude for this development which will improve their livelihoods. This was vividly demonstrated through dance and song by groups such as Lihoba tsa Mapoteng High School, Likhibi tsa Koma- Koma.
Speaking on behalf of the Principal Chief of Koeneng and Mapoteng Chieftainess ‘Mantoetse Lesaoana Peete stated that it is befitting that the event to celebrate this great milestone is held in Berea, a district which has a long standing history of water crisis where people; majority of whom were women and children traveled long distances in their quest for drinking water. She expressed her gratitude to the Government and the financer Millennium Challenge Account -Lesotho, for this initiative which is not only going to benefit Berea but the entire country.
When handing over the projects to the government of Lesotho, the Deputy Vice President of Millennium Corporation in Washington Mr. Andrew Mayock stated that these achievements focus on sustainability; to ensure that for decades to come Basotho will continue to enjoy clean water supply and sanitation.
Speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Energy, Meteorology and Water Affairs, Dr. Timothy Thahane explained that these projects fit within the Government’s plans to improve water supply for domestic and industrial use in both urban and rural areas. He thanked the US government for its generosity which ensured that the Government of Lesotho implements the water sector projects.
When commissioning the Urban and Peri Urban Water Supply project and the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation project, the Prime Minister of Lesotho Dr. Motsoahae Thomas Thabane explained that most urban centres had inadequate access to drinking water a situation exacerbated by limited and outdated urban water systems while 42% of the Lesotho population living in the rural areas did not have access to reliable water supply and were also vulnerable to diseases due to poor sanitation practices. He said unreliable water supply also hindered opportunities for growth in the business sector. He hailed the Millennium Challenge Corporation through its local implementing body, Millennium Challenge Account for changing the lives of Basotho by embarking on the water sector projects which will improve the quality of live and the people’s livelihoods through economic growth.
The Water Supply Projects were financed by Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) under the implementation of the Local Authority, Millennium Challenge Account (MCA-Lesotho), with a total budget of $164, 027,999 million of the Lesotho Compact, approximately 45.25% of the total funding.
In an interview, the Chief Executive of WASCO Mr. Mathealira Lerotholi pointed out that as much as Mapoteng was declared an urban centre far back in the 1980’s it has not seen any growth economically but it is very much reliant on Maputsoe and TY. He pointed out that one of the major contributing factors is insufficient water to supply to the area. Mr. Lerotholi is confident that with the implementation of urban and peri-urban water supply project, Mapoteng will experience a drastic change in development. One could expect to see ‘Makhoroana and Mapoteng growing into one economic centre, he said.
MCA-Lesotho worked in close collaboration with Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) in the implementation of Urban and Peri-Urban Water Supply Network implemented in eleven (11) urban centres; Maseru, Leribe, Mapoteng, Botha-Bothe, Mokhotlong, Qacha’snek, Quthing, Mohale’shoek, Mafeteng and Mazenod. The Urban and Peri Urban project consists of rehabilitations of old infrastructure and extensions of water supply networks and construction of new water treatment and network for Semonkong.
On the other hand the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation project is aimed at provision of improved water supply and sanitation facilities in rural areas through the construction of 250 water systems and an estimated 30, 000 ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines throughout the country.
Most of these projects have folded while the expectation is that for the ongoing projects, construction works would be complete by 17th September 2013, which is the end of Compact period.