How tiny Lesotho turned into Africa’s water tower

By | July 26, 2022

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Tiny #Lesotho’s #water sustains tens of millions of people throughout the Orange River Basin – an area 25 times the size of the kingdom itself.

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[Music] Deep in the african highlands lies the Mountain kingdom lesotho it is encircled By south africa on all sides lesotho Sits roughly one kilometer higher in Altitude than the region making it Simultaneously isolated and dependent on Its larger neighbor lesotho has no Significant mineral deposits nor is There much arable land but the one Resource the country is rich in is Arguably the most important of all water Since the 1990s a massive dam system has Sought to harness this natural wealth by Enclosing tributary rivers and Redirecting flows the lesotho highland Water project Now sustains tens of millions of people Throughout the orange river basin an Area 25 times the size of the landlocked Kingdom itself Tiny lesotho has become indispensable to South africa’s key economic sectors from Mining to agriculture to industry But not all is as it seems the terms of The agreement between south africa and Lesotho do not mention inflation and as It stands today with currency rates Plummeting the washer-based royalty rate Paid to lesotho sits below market price So lazutu is now subsidizing south Africa’s water supply while its own Citizens are deprived of their Livelihoods

And while lawmakers in mazuru look to Expand the water system and plunge into The next phase of the scheme it would be Sensible to test the water’s depth with One leg not two [Music] This video is sponsored by masterworks According to the financial times 70 of Economists predict a recession in the United states next year a recession in The world’s biggest economy will have Global consequences so this news Concerns everyone the problem however Goes deeper than just inflation jp Morgan predicts stock market returns Below five percent for the next decade Even cryptocurrencies are performing Poorly having lost more than two Trillion dollars in value since november In the past people would invest in gold And real estate but real estate is in a Bubble and many experts believe gold Prices will subside in the future Fortunately there is one asset class That is actually up 32 for the year While the s p 500 is down 20 percent That asset is fine art which has near Zero correlation to the equities markets So the value of your art investments Won’t necessarily take a dive when the Stock market does Masterworks allows investors like you And i to gain access to this asset class They buy paintings and securitize them

With the sec which enables members on Their platform to invest in shares of These paintings think of it like buying A slice of pizza because you don’t want To spend millions on the full pie or Painting in this case Demand for masterworks is high so There’s a wait list but by using my link In the description you can get priority Access immediately [Music] The history of the orange river basin is One of conquest colonization and mass Migration In the mid 17th century dutch merchants Established a foothold on the african Cape Later when napoleon defeated the Netherlands britain’s royal navy annexed The territory to secure its imperial Trade network and when the red coats Arrived the dutch boer settlers tracked Inland to place themselves beyond London’s reach bringing them into Conflict with the african locals In particular the basutu people of the Highlands offered stiff resistance led By king maeshwaishui the first the African highlanders frustrated both boer And british incursions and after Conceding the lowland territories to the Europeans the basutu were granted Protectorate status by london Through their efforts basotho

Policymakers preserved this arrangement Until the 1960s And when south africa became a republic Lesotho became an independent monarchy Before long though south africa’s Economic gravity attracted basotho Highlanders searching for work And though only a single train line Connected the two countries the kingdom Quickly turned into a satellite state As such south african policymakers saw Little reason to annex the territory Formally and thus never bothered Even so south african pretoria had Compelling reasons to take an interest In the highlands Between 1870 and 1970 south africa’s Population ballooned from 2.5 million to 22 million people Most of this growth was concentrated in What is now gauteng province driven by Industrialization and the discovery of Mineral wealth including gold diamonds And platinum In doing so however Industrialization had placed south Africa’s water security under stress Government engineers responded with Water transfer schemes and irrigation Projects this included the orange river Project and the tugey laval transfer Scheme Both projects succeeded in moving water From johannesburg and pretoria via the

Val river but they were insignificant to Meet the long-term demands of the basin Accordingly attention turned to lesotho Which was home to half of the basin’s Rainfall despite accounting for only Four percent of its territory thus Beginning in the 1960s pretoria entered Negotiations with masuru the pitch was Straightforward south africa would pay An annual royalty for lesotho’s water Resources this would involve the Construction of a dam complex providing The kingdom with job opportunities much Needed transport infrastructure and Hydroelectricity A feasibility study was commissioned in 1983 And the plans were drawn up two years Later But there were reservations masuru Quickly realized building artificial Reservoirs would submerge lesotho’s Remaining arable land and by placing all Its eggs in the dam basket it would Effectively hand over economic Sovereignty to south africa plus the Apartheid government was also a sticking Point since basu lawmakers were Skeptical that pretoria would treat them As equal partners These fears proved justified in 1985 Angered by lesotho’s sheltering of Anti-apartheid gorilla fighters pretoria Instigated a coup in masuru thereafter

The new lesotho government expelled the Guerrilla fighters and the following Year a treaty creating the lesotho Highlands watcher project was signed Even after apartheid was dismantled Nelson mandela’s government continued The project splitting the royalties 56-44 in lesotho’s favor The scheme consists of several phases The first half of phase one was Completed in 1998 and cost 8 billion Dollars it consists of two major dams The katse and the mueller The katsey dam is considered the jewel In the project’s crown standing at 186 Meters high the dam encloses the malibu Matsa river creating a reservoir of About 2 billion cubic meters which is Nearly four times the volume of the Sydney harbor From the katsey a 45 kilometer tunnel Runs to another hydropower plant at the Mueller dam from here another 37 Kilometer delivery tunnel moves the Water to the us river and into the vall Dam this provides a stable flow to Gauting’s industrial hub including Pretoria and johannesburg The second half of phase one was Completed in 2003 it consists of two Upstream dams the mohale dam on the Sengueyani river connects to the katse Dam via a 32 kilometer transfer tunnel And so does the matsoko dam via a six

Kilometer tunnel These dams can either store water in the Mohale dam or move it to the katse dam For transfer to south africa Overall the project has yielded some Benefits for lesotho annual royalties Equal 70 million dollars roughly 5 of State revenues and the hydroelectricity Produced by the dams granted lesotho Cheap energy while the promise of Improved roads was largely realized so The lesotho kingdom has benefited in the Short term For south africa the stakes couldn’t be Higher over 20 million people now rely On lesotho’s water system especially in Johannesburg and pretoria And so do south african industries Lesotho’s water cools power stations in Mupalanga maintains the chemical plants In sassel and keeps the gold mines Operational in free state it also Sustains the towns in limpopo the Platinum mines in the northwest and the Diamond mines in kimberley Lesotho plays an irreplaceable role in Ensuring social political stability and Economic prosperity in south africa The importance of lesotho’s watcher Projects is such that in late 1998 mere Months after the opening of the first Half of phase one south africa Intervened militarily in lesotho to put Down a political uprising

The first area where south african Troops were deployed was not the capital Masuru but the katsey dam Since then lesotho has become south Africa’s tailor-made water Tower growing demographics compelled South africa and lesotho to launch phase Two of the watcher project in 2014. Due for completion in 2027 phase 2 Consists of the poly holly dam which Will sit about 170 meters high and Create a reservoir on the senku and Hubelu rivers the estimated volume is Again 2 billion cubic meters this will Feed into the katse dam via another Transfer tunnel and increase the muali Plant’s energy generation by 60 percent Enough for lesotho to become Self-sufficient Still beyond phase three will see the Construction of the sulik dam at the Confluence of the sulik and senku rivers The tsulik dam will be 90 kilometers Downstream from the mashai dam and have A storage capacity of 2.2 billion cubic Meters meanwhile during phase 4 the Integ y dam and the pumping station will Be built 40 kilometers downstream from The tsuluk dam on the shanku river when All is done the lesotho highland water Project will consist of 200 kilometers Of tunnels between south africa and Lesotho the project will have a Cumulative capacity twice that of the

Hoover dam it will transfer about 2 Billion cubic meters of water annually From lesotho to south africa But the numbers while dazzling tell only Half the story Planners are never short of statistics That towed the government line but the Reality on the ground has been quite Different Disruptions have been far-reaching the Loss of arable land has deprived basotho Highlanders of their crucial farms and When cattle died off due to lack of Grazing land the pastures that remained Were overused to the point of barrenness Long grass no longer grows to make Baskets nor are there enough trees for Firewood to keep villagers warm on the Frozen mountain peaks Those who remained were left to fight Over scraps And though the basutu society has Traditionally sought their ancestors Advice they could no longer do so their Graves were now under water So while geo-economic benefits are Measured using empirical units like gdp Irreparable losses have been made in Livelihoods The enclosure of lesotho’s water Resources has also brought about Systemic corruption rival power blocks And patronage networks vie for contracts And privileges

And since pretoria’s desire for a stable Water supply depends on lesotho’s Stability South africa has become more willing to Intervene in its neighbor’s politics Thus the effects on lesotho sovereignty Has been entirely negative yet perhaps The biggest shock is that the terms of The agreement do not cover inflation the Royalty rate paid to lesotho now sits Below market price So tiny lesotho is now effectively Subsidizing south africa’s water supply Should phases three and four come about New unforeseen problems will emerge Many climatologists predict that Rainfall in lesotho will decrease Considerably over the next half century Watcher will become more scarce this Could cause royalties to dry up making The project unviable in the long term And should lesotho re-appropriate its Reservoirs for domestic purposes Political intervention from a water Hungry south africa is likely In any event by phase 2 3 and 4 many Thousands more basuto highlanders will Be displaced Phase two threatens to bring the number Of displaced to thirty thousand which Would likely multiply during phases Three and four Combined with inadequate compensation Political frustrations could boil over

Ultimately the highlands watcher project Has been a boon for sectors of lesotho Society but the people reaping the Benefits are not the same as those Bearing the costs And as time marches on tensions between The haves and have-nots will increase Even if lesotho can maintain social Political stability and uphold its Independence New abrupt unexpected complications will Emerge because at the summit of one Mountain Is the foot of another I’ve been your host shirwan from caspian Report if you approve of what we do and You want to show some support please Consider joining our patreon platform or The youtube membership program you’ll Find the links in the description box In any case thank you for watching and Sago

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