Poli­hali Dam project on sched­ule: Mo­sisili

Lesotho Times - - News - Bereng Mpaki

PRIME Min­is­ter Dr Pakalitha Mo­sisili has in­sisted that con­trary to re­ports in some sec­tions of the South African media, the Poli­hali Dam project was go­ing ahead as planned by the two coun­tries.

The con­struc­tion of the dam is part of the sec­ond phase of the Le­sotho High­lands Wa­ter Project (LHWP)-A multi-phased project funded by South Africa to pro­vide wa­ter to its Gaut­eng prov­ince as well as gen­er­ate hy­dro-elec­tric­ity for Le­sotho.

It was es­tab­lished by the 1986 Treaty signed by the-then gov­ern­ments of both coun­tries.

Phase II of the LHWP was for­mally launched at Mokhot­long in March 2014.

Re­cent media re­ports in South Africa had sug­gested that re-ne­go­ti­ated terms of the project would de­lay con­struc­tion thereby ex­pos­ing the neigh­nour­ing coun­try to pos­si­ble wa­ter short­ages in the near fu­ture.

How­ever, Dr Mo­sisili this week told lo­cal media the project re­mained on sched­ule and con­tracts for ad­vance in­fra­struc­ture com­po­nents had al­ready been awarded.

“The ev­i­dence is that bids are cur­rently be­ing in­vited for pro­cure­ment of in­fra­struc­ture project and con­tracts are be­ing awarded,” Dr Mo­sisili said.

“Peo­ple are only think­ing about the con­struc­tion of the dam but it has to be pre­ceded by sup­port­ing in­fra­struc­ture.”

Ac­cord­ing to the LHWP web­site, the pro­cure­ment of con­sul­tants to de­sign ad­vance in­fra­struc­ture started in Jan­uary 2015 and ex­pected to con­tinue into 2017.

“To date, fo­cus has been on the pro­cure­ment of con­sul­tants to de­sign and su­per­vise the con­struc­tion of the ad­vance in­fra­struc­ture works that is, roads, bridges, hous­ing, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions as well as the En­vi­ron­men­tal and So­cial Im­pact As­sess­ments and Re­set­tle­ment Action Plans,” the web­site states.

The web­site also states that by Novem­ber 2015 five con­tracts had been awarded for ad­vance in­fra­struc­ture works.

One was a con­tract for the de­sign and su- per­vi­sion of the con­struc­tion of the Poli­hali North East ac­cess road and an­other for the su­per­vi­sion of geotech­ni­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tions for the Poli­hali dam and the Poli­hali-katse wa­ter trans­fer tun­nel.

A con­tract was also awarded for the de­mar­ca­tion of the Poli­hali reser­voir, an­other for pro­fes­sional ser­vices for the eval­u­a­tion, op­ti­mi­sa­tion and site su­per­vi­sion of geotech­ni­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tions. The last was awarded for pro­fes­sional ser­vices for the plan­ning, de­sign and con­struc­tion su­per­vi­sion of the hous­ing and as­so­ci­ated in­fra­struc­ture.

LHWP Phase II con­sists of two sep­a­rate but re­lated com­po­nents of wa­ter trans­fer and hy­dropower gen­er­a­tion.

The wa­ter trans­fer com­po­nent com­prises an ap­prox­i­mately 165m high Con­crete Faced Rock­fill Dam at Poli­hali down­stream of the con­flu­ence of the Khubelu and Senqu (Orange) Rivers and 38km long con­crete-lined grav­ity tun­nel con­nect­ing the Poli­hali reser­voir to the Katse reser­voir.

Other Phase II ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude ad­vance in­fra­struc­ture (roads, ac­com­mo­da­tion, power lines and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion) and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial mit­i­gat­ing mea­sures.

The hy­dropower com­po­nent is cur­rently un­der fur­ther fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies and could in­clude a pumped stor­age scheme and con­ven­tional hy­dropower.

“The pro­cure­ment of con­sul­tants for the main works namely the dam and the tun­nel in­cludes a pre­qual­i­fi­ca­tion process to shortlist con­sul­tants who are then in­vited to sub­mit bids for the main works. This process is un­der­way,” the web­site fur­ther states.

KING Let­sie III (left) and South African Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma un­veil a plaque dur­ing the sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony at the Poli­hali Dam Site in 2014 - File pic.

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