AT A GLANCE
Risks Heightened water scarcity due to climate change
Area of Engagement Strengthening hydromet services and early warning systems; building resilience at community level
By taking a comprehensive approach to climate risk analysis, Lesotho is better informed to manage its water resources – a key part of its economy.
RESULTS IN RESILIENCE SERIES HIGH DEMAND FOR SCARCE RESOURCES
Water plays an outsized role in Lesotho, even though it is a landlocked country. In addition to being a basic need for the country’s population of two million, water contributes approximately 8 to 10 percent to Lesotho’s GDP, and 10 percent to total government revenues. Most of these revenues come from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, a multi-stage infrastructure project that transfers water, through a vast system of dams and tunnels, from Lesotho’s highlands to hydropower generation plants and industrial and mining operations in South Africa. The project complements the Lesotho Lowlands Water Supply Scheme, which offers access to clean water domestically while meeting agricultural, industrial, and commercial demand to generate revenue.
Situated in the Orange-Senqu River basin, Lesotho has abundant water resources. Nevertheless, the country remains vulnerable to the impacts associated with regular and recurrent floods and droughts. Climate change jeopardizes Lesotho’s natural water sources, threatening to decrease the country’s water supply. Recognizing this, the Lesotho Disaster Management Agency (DMA) instituted the first systematic analysis of Lesotho’s water management system to assess the country’s vulnerability to climate change.