Advance infrastructure construction at Polihali and Katse, which forms part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) Phase 2, is set to begin in early January, following the award of a contract, valued at about 394-million Lesotho Maloti, to the WBHO and LSP Construction joint venture (JV).
At Polihali, where the Phase 2 Polihali dam is to be built, the scope of work includes earthworks and the creation of platforms for buildings, water and wastewater systems, landfill, roads, drainage, electrical and telecommunications networks.
At Katse village, the village built in Phase 1 to accommodate consultants and contractors working on the project, the works cover the upgrade of existing water and wastewater systems, a landfill site, as well as roads and utilities.
Advance infrastructure comprises temporary and permanent housing and offices, labour camps, main access roads, bulk power supply and telecommunications transmission lines, to be completed before the start of construction of the main works, the Polihali dam and tunnel, in 2020.
“The contract award is in line with the approved procurement policy and the provisions of the Phase 2 agreement, which advocates equal sharing of the monetary value of infrastructure works between Lesotho- and South African- registered contractors,” Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) CE Refiloe Tlali commented in a release issued on Friday.
She added that it had taken “years of planning and preparation to get to this point, but come January 2019, with this second construction contract following that of the Polihali North East Access Road just recently awarded, construction vehicles will move on to site demonstrating that Phase 2’s seven-year construction period has started, bringing closer to reality the eagerly anticipated employment opportunities that the project brings”.
The civil works and utilities contract is one of several critical advance infrastructure components which must be completed before the construction of the main Phase 2 works, namely the Polihali dam, transfer tunnel and the hydropower generation plant.
Construction of this contract is expected to take a little over two years.
Additionally, the LHDA has appointed Gauteng-based GA Environment as safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) auditors for the advance infrastructure of Phase 2.
The contract started in early September and will run for three years.
“The LHDA has developed a SHEQ management framework that is to be applied across all Phase 2 consultancy and construction contracts.
“The primary aim is to ensure that Phase 2 is implemented safely and with minimal harm to personnel, plant, the environment and the public, within the parameters of the framework and the laws of Lesotho,” LHDA divisional manager for Phase 2 Tente Tente said.
Phase 2 of the LHWP builds on the successful completion of Phase 1 in 2003, and delivers water to the Gauteng region of South Africa and uses the water delivery system to generate hydro-electricity for Lesotho.
Phase 2 will increase the current supply rate of 780-million cubic metres a year incrementally to more than 1 270-million cubic metres a year.
At the same time, it will increase the quantity of electricity generated in Lesotho and is a further step in the process of securing an independent electricity source to meet Lesotho’s domestic requirements.