The official opening of the project happened on a chilly morning on June 29th 2017. The event was graced by the newly appointed Minister of Water Hon..nourable Samonyane Ntsekele who was the guest of honour and the Hon.ourable Minister of Finance Dr. Moeketsi Majoro, both of whom through the offices they head hold equal shares of the water Company. The Ambassador of the European Union (EU) Dr. Michael Doyle and the Regional Manager Africa and Caribbean of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Mr. Carmelo Cocuzza were also present at the occasion, as the major funders of the project which commenced in 2008.
Community leaders and members of the benefitting communities such as Khubetsoana and Mabote came in large numbers despite the miserably cold weather conditions. In his key note address Hon.ourable Ntsekele expressed gratitude to the funders for collaborating with the Government of Lesotho(GoL) in implementing this multi million project aimed to improve the sanitation service levels in the urban and peri-urban areas of Maseru particularly within the Maqalika catchment thereby protecting the reservoir from pollution.
To date, the Minister proudly pointed out that health institutions, businesses and community members from Leqele, Thamae, Khubetsoana, Mabote and Temong have connected to the sewer lines constructed under this project. Another phase of the project focuses on building Amalooloo toilets for the vulnerable groups in Maseru and construction has already commenced in Mabote and Khubetsoana. Minister Ntsekele said when Basotho have access to water supply and sanitation services; they will be free from water bourne diseases and would focus energy on improving their livelihoods.
The E U Ambassador to Lesotho Dr. Michael Doyle, explained that the EU as a longstanding development partner in Lesotho found it important to contribute to the project which tackles many sanitation issues in the growing capital, Maseru. He however indicated that the actual uptake of connections has been disappointingly low with only 7% of households connected in the last two years. He said WASCO should work hard in addressing the issues raised by community members as causes for this low connections uptake. These include lack of information which the utility is already addressing and lack of financial incentives.
Community leaders and representatives of the benefitting areas who spoke at the event expressed gratitude to the funders for assisting WASCO in implementing this flagship project, but stated that connecting to the sewer lines is costly and appealed to the funders to subsidise connections for community members.
The EIB contributed Euros 14,3 million, EU Euros 10 million, while the Government of Lesotho contributed Euros 8 million towards the implementation of the project. Major components included development of the sewerage pipelines, pump stations, two sewerage treatment plants and rehabilitation of the Ratjomose sewerage treatment plant.