Landlocked Lesotho Builds Landmark Dam

Landlocked Lesotho Builds Landmark Dam
Millennium Challenge Corporation, Lesotho Africa
The Metolong Dam is the centerpiece of a water infrastructure program that supplies water for Lesotho’s capital, Maseru, and surrounding towns.

The independent nation of Lesotho, tucked inside the borders of South Africa, boasts a rugged and majestic landscape that makes it a unique adventurer’s destination. But despite the nation’s tall mountains, it has histor­i­cally suffered from water shortages, affecting the country’s vibrant textile industry and growing population. Providing much needed relief, the US$430 million Metolong Dam water infra­struc­ture program supplies raw water for Lesotho’s capital, Maseru, and surrounding towns. The project improves water delivery to domestic users and textile operations—preserving 48,000 jobs and creating approx­i­mately 6,000 new ones. 

meter rolled-compacted concrete dam
million liter-per-day water treatment plant
of transmission pipelines
Serving as the project’s program manager, we drew from our global experience to keep the massive project on track while managing the shortage of required skills in Lesotho, the project’s stringent procurement guidelines, and multiple stakeholder and funding donors. The massive project consists of a 83-meter roller-compacted concrete dam and multi-stage raw water intake and pump station; a 93-million-liter-per-day water treatment plant; and a downstream conveyance system, with more than 100 kilometers of trans­mis­sion pipelines. Following the filling of the Mpilo Reservoir above Maseru City, potable quality treated water is now being distributed over the full reach of the Metolong project—thus benefiting the lives of more 500,000 people.
As with most projects this size, stakeholder engagement and involvement was critical. While an initial stakeholder input phase secured support and eased concerns about the program, we kept communities abreast of project devel­op­ments and addressed potential problems. Additional social and envi­ron­men­tal management initiatives included cultural resources management and development, land acquisition and reset­tle­ment, and catchment management. The Metolong Dam not only creates a much-needed water supply for Maseru and the surrounding area, but will stimulate Lesotho’s business and economy.
Steve Lowry Steve Lowry
This clean source of water resulted in improved health, increased productivity, reduced infant and child mortality, and increased opportunity for businesses that offer employment.

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