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PRESS RELEASE

Lesotho: World Bank to Help 30,000 Basotho People Gain Access to Improved Water Supply

June 20, 2014

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2014 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today additional financing in the amount of US$15.435 million for the Water Sector Improvement Project, Phase 2.  This project will further support the long-term sustainability of the Metolong Dam and Water Supply Program, advance preparation of the hydropower component under Phase 2 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP2), and assist the Government of Lesotho in preparing a comprehensive investment program for the expansion of water service in the Lowlands of Lesotho. Some 30,000 people, of whom 18,000 are women, will benefit from the delivery of water services by 2016.

Water is one of Lesotho’s most important natural resource, contributing eight percent to Lesotho’s overall gross domestic product (GDP). It is central to the country’s long-term growth prospects. Periodic water supply breakdowns in recent years, due both to drought conditions and infrastructure failures, have affected production in this sector.

“More than 40% of Lesotho’s population, and especially the poorer households, do not have adequate access to water and sanitation services, and roughly 75% of the population live in rural areas where water service is scarce,” said Asad Alam, World Bank Country Director for Lesotho. “Today’s funding will boost access to clean water for 30 000 people.”

The World Bank’s support is consistent with the Country Assistance Strategy for the Kingdom of Lesotho which emphasizes water and water infrastructure as key areas of investment.

Water is one of Lesotho’s most important renewable assets and is central to the country’s long-term growth prospects,” said Marcus Wishart, World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project. “Today’s project will combine efforts to further develop renewable energy through preparation of hydropower component under LHWP2 and to increase water supply services through further development of the Lowlands Water Supply Scheme throughout the country, both of which are central to the Lesotho Government’s efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity.”

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2014/590/AFR