Call for preservation of water sources

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By Lerema Pheea

Protection of water resources that includes wetlands is at the heart of the Renoka, an Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) system deployed in the highlands by a ministry of water initiative sponsored by Germany and the European Union.

Lately, Lesotho’s mountains are losing their water sources to either overgrazing and other climate change-induced difficulties and wool and mohair farmers are fast losing the lucrative ranges they used to feed their sheep and goats from.

But an intervention intended to regulate and lessen the effect that these farmers have on water sources by overgrazing that leads to the destruction of wetlands and formation of gullies due to erosion was launched in Ha Koporale, Mohale, in Thaba-Tseka district by his Majesty King Letsie III.

The initiative launched by the King is made possible with the assistant of European Union (EU) and Germany Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with the implementation led by Deutsch Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit(GIZ).

The project seeks to promote sustainable management of land and water resources through the application of a climate-resilient Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) “Renoka” (we are a river) approach.

This official launch was led by King Letsie III and Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro.

The King said over 30 years the country has been under the project of supplying water to neighbouring South Africa through the bilateral Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP).

He said that it is from this project that Lesotho gets its royalties and is able to support the financial stability of the country and for the generation of electricity in Muela even if it is still now limited.

The King said the LHWP is dependent on the flowing water from the rivers that supply water to Katse dam, Mohale dam as well as the under-construction Polihali in the future.

He emphasised that it is clear that the wetlands and water sources of these dams must be cared for and tightly protected by Basotho.

He also said it is comprehended that this program will have a significant impact on the economic development of the country and improve the livelihoods of the citizens of this country and of the neighbouring countries.

King Letsie III added, “the conservation and protection of wetlands are a critical exercise as the world experiences an increase in the tragedies of clean and fresh water.

“Therefore, it has become an elective passion for the country to embark upon an integrated approach that encompasses different stakeholders in the protection of our wetlands and related ecosystems…

“…This approach will help us to achieve sustainable and efficient management of our water resources and natural habitat and consequently bring about multiple benefits to our communities and the country at large”.

Majoro said this project is meant for the protection of the environment and natural resources that are being destroyed.

He said this was birthed by climate change and improper use of natural resources by people.

He said society has a responsibility either it is the head of the leadership, local Chief, Members of the Parliament, community councillors as well as the member of the society in general to see that natural resources are conserved.

He lamented that land and wetlands degradation has continued for many years because leaders have abandoned their responsibility in the conservation of natural resources.

He emphasizes that Basotho are so lucky and blessed to live in a country that has mountains because these mountains have rangelands.

He mentions that the rangelands have wetlands and these wetlands are the ones that provide water to small and big rivers of this country.

He states that the rangelands allow Basotho to live as they are able to keep livestock of their desired number.

He also said that if people do not conserve the rangelands, the wetlands are going to be destroyed and therefore this will lead to the shortage of water inside the rivers.

He further explains that if people can change the strategy on how they approach the natural resources, the damage of resources can be stopped and the wetlands can be improved.

He says that this can happen if the leaders lead this project.

He added, “If we as Basotho can stand up and protect our wetlands, we can benefit a lot as we can have an excessive amount of water and the supply of water to the neighbouring countries can be at a high level and therefore the economic growth can be high”.

Majoro encouraged residents of Ha Teneso that they must have a clear conscience on the natural resources and said this project is not for the government but also for society in general.