On the big-picture side The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) is a massive Government program resulting from a treaty signed in 1986 which was an agreement to sell water from the Lesotho mountain areas to South Africa. Visit their website at http://www.lhwa.org for project details. In addition to financial and hydroelectric power benefits the LHWP has been instrumental in the formation of the beautiful Ts’ehlanyane National Park. From the LHWP website:
One of the many highlights of Lesotho is a visit to Katse Dam, centrepiece of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project which channels the water of the Lesotho Highlands via an incredible series of dams and tunnels through the mountains eventually coming out of the Ash River Outfall near the town of Clarens in South Africa’s Free State province where it gravity feeds to supply Johannesburg and Pretoria with water.
It was touted as the greatest engineering project in the southern hemisphere in the 1990′s when it was under construction. Nowadays the sight of the massive dam hemmed in by the mountain valley is well worth beholding!
For visitors, there is an information centre, which features a model of the whole project, showing all the phases. You can also go on a tour of the dam wall which is arranged by the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority Visitor Centre. The Katse Botanical Gardens is an added attraction. Continue reading
The Drakensberg-Maloti Highlands are highly valued in southern Africa for their rivers’ excellent water quality and high water yield. These rivers provide water to large areas of South Africa. The region encompasses the whole of Lesotho, excluding the westernmost lowland areas as well as small parts of South Africa just south and north of Lesotho.