Lesotho highlands maintenance operation to shutdown

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pretoria - Cabinet has noted the planned operation and maintenance shutdown of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project between the months of October and November.

"The operation and maintenance of the tunnels on this system must be inspected at least every 10 years and during the period of such maintenance, no water transfer to the Vaal System will be possible as the tunnels will be drained completely," said acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams on Friday.

The Department of Water Affairs is discussing contingency plans with the municipalities along the Liebenbergsvlei and Caledon Rivers should the rivers dry up to such an extent that water supply problems are encountered.

In that regard, water users along the Ash and Liebenbergsvlei Rivers are advised to use water sparingly during this period.

Williams said the total volume of water scheduled to be transferred to the Vaal System (780 million m3 for the 2012 calendar year) will however still be transferred.

"The assurance of water supply to the Gauteng area will therefore not be negatively impacted upon during this planned shutdown," Williams said.

The Lesotho Highlands Water Project is an ongoing water supply project with a hydropower component, developed in partnership between the governments of Lesotho and South Africa.

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