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PRESS RELEASE May 17, 2019

New World Bank Financing to Provide Improved Water Supply to Thousands of Basotho and Businesses

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2019Up to 115 000 Basotho and businesses in the Lesotho Lowlands will have access to improved water as a result of a $78 million financing from the International Development Association (IDA)* for the country’s water supply scheme.

This funding, for the Lesotho Lowlands Water Development Project – Phase II, will build on the work done under Phase I, which included the completion of the Metolong Dam and Water Supply Program, that provides water supply services to the domestic and industrial water requirements for the capital, Maseru and surrounding settlements.  The project will also assist in improving the technical and financial performance of Lesotho’s Water and Sewage Company (WASCO) for better sanitation infrastructure and services.

“Through this project, the World Bank will assist the Government of Lesotho provide a reliable water supply, which is critical to improving the quality of life of Basotho and to the industrial areas including the textile sector for improved productivity and job creation.  This is in line with the World Bank’s twin goals to reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity,” said Paul Noumba Um, World Bank Country Director for Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe.   

Water is one of Lesotho’s most valuable natural assets, and it is central to the country’s long-term growth prospects. The country’s access to water supply services is relatively high compared to other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, however, the reliability and quality of water supply services remains a challenge in both rural and urban areas.

The Lesotho Lowlands Water Development Project – Phase II aims to finance activities to improve access to reliable domestic and industrial water supply services in the towns of Maputsoe and Hlotse, as well as settlements and villages along the transmission pipeline route. About 115 000 inhabitants and the Industrial sector are expected to benefit from the developments.

The project will also support the enhancement of WASCO’s performance by incentivizing the delivery of measurable operational improvements facilitated by change management support. These improvements include: improving the quality of its technical and financial data to facilitate decision making and delivering on technical and financial performance against annual targets set by the Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority.

“The project will help reduce the time and effort needed, especially for women and children, to collect water. It will also help reduce the incidence of waterborne diseases caused by consumption of contaminated water and the associated costs of accessing treatment,” said Catherine Signe Tovey, World Bank Global Practice Manager for Water.  “The project is also expected to promote economic growth and jobs by providing reliable water services to the industrial sector in the Maputsoe area which has been severely affected by the water crisis in the past few years.”

The European Investment Bank and the European Development Fund will provide parallel financing towards the Lesotho Lowlands Water Supply Scheme, aimed at improving bulk water supply and sanitation services in Mafeteng and Mohale’s Hoek.

*The World Bank’s international Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for project and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $19 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.  



Elita Banda