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Assess the physical and human impacts of the highland water scheme on South Africa and Lesotho.

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Introduction

Assess the physical and human impacts of the highland water scheme on South Africa and Lesotho. A Treaty was signed between Lesotho and South Africa in October 1986 which paved the way for the highlands water scheme. This essential took excess water away from Lesotho and diverted it the surrounding country South Africa which was concerned with water supplies becoming scarce which would affect industry and everyday life. Therefore this challenge had to address both social and environmental concerns resulting from the projects implementation and associated impacts. The opportunity was there to improve the development of Lesotho and for sustainable economic growth for the country and welfare for its people but is in the need to be exploited. With a population of 2.5 million on 30,385km squared of land the annual rainfall of over a metre in most areas is more than adequate for the nation who are, mostly farmers with small areas of industry here and there. South Africa's need for water was becoming more and more critical and Lesotho was the cheapest option within her borders. ...read more.

Middle

Watershed management had to also be delt with. A major area of activity for this program involved rehabilitation of construction areas, where such rehabilitation had not been included as part of construction contracts specifications, or was neglected through poor engineering supervision. Other planned activities under the watershed management program, such as measurements of rates of sedimentation of the reservoirs and monitoring of soil erosion, were not implemented; after a decision to forestall that program and implement a soil and water conservation program, with emphasis on community participation. This was considered to be more cost effective, and would enhance chances for sustainable development on a long term basis. Infrastructure programmes creating town halls and improving social life were common in many rural areas and the development in tourism was also contributed. From an environmentalists point of view nature reserves were enforced in a dozen areas and gardens were created at Katse. Some rare plants affected were transported to other suitable locations. The government of Lesotho made clear from the start that their heritage was an important port of their communities. ...read more.

Conclusion

These cases are rare and have little reason to doubt the success of the highland water project. However a major concern of the projects critisers is time. How will the project stand up in 10, 15 years time? Will the land now used for grazing and arable farming withstand the new pressure? Will and dams be able to cope with years of deposition and most of all will the project be enough for the people of South Africa or is it merely delaying the inevitable. For the project to be a success it must withstand the 85 years life span it has been given before improvements are set to be made and not until the end of that will anyone be able to state with certainty the worth while of this project. One of the passages from the treaty in October of 86 is below and has been upholded by all parties involved it reads; "The Parties agree to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the implementation, operation, and maintenance of the project are compatible with the protection of the existing quality of the environment and, in particular, shall pay due regard to the maintenance of the welfare of the people and communities immediately affected by the project." Amen. ...read more.

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