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Botswana, Lesotho sign MoU

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Botswana could in the near future source water from the Senqu river in Lesotho to augment shortage of water supply experienced in the country.

That follows a signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the Botswana, Lesotho and South African governments which set in place framework for the feasibility study to determine the possibility of water transfer from Lesotho highlands to Botswana.

The MoU was signed at Phakalane Golf Resort last Friday by the minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Mr Kitso Mokaila, South Africa’s minister of Minerals, Water and Environmental Resources, Ms Ednah Molewa, and Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Joang Molapo who represented the minister responsible for water in Lesotho.

The Namibian minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Ms Lempy Lucas also attended as a witness.

The three countries, together with Namibia are members of the Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM) and therefore can all benefit from the utilisation of the river.

The ORASECOM was formalised in 2000 and basically promotes shared and sustainable development of resources of the Orange-Senqu River by the four countries that form the basin of the river. The original treaty was signed in 1986.

MEWR minister, Mr Kitso Mokaila said the signing of MoU was a welcome development because water was scarce in Botswana.

“This marks a giant leap towards the process of getting water supply from Lesotho, which would be used for the socio-economic development of our country. We are grateful to Lesotho and South Africa for their cooperation, and the cordial relationship which exist between the three countries,” said Mr Mokaila.

Mr Molapo said the Lesotho government believed the project was feasible and could be concluded without problems.

He said Lesotho was happy to assist Botswana because the two countries have a long history of working together. Also, he noted that it was important for Lesotho to help Botswana because of dry conditions here.

“We have shared years of good and tough times. Botswana assisted Lesotho when we experienced difficult times due to political turmoil and we are excited to offer our assistance as well.”

Minister Molewa from South Africa said ORASECOM was one of the most successful commissions on the continent of Africa.

She said the commission had promoted prudent use of water by the four countries for socio-economic development in a manner that did not pollute the environment.

Again, she added that the three governments would be careful to ensure that the process of getting water to Botswana did not distabilise flow of the river. Ends