The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) will kick 2019 into gear with the launch in January of the prequalification for construction of the Phase 2 main works of the Polihali dam and Polihali transfer tunnel.
“The call for expressions of interest for the construction of the 165-m-high Polihali dam and the 38-km-long Polihali transfer tunnel is expected to attract the interest of major engineering and construction companies,” says LHWP Phase 2 divisional manager Tente Tente.
The prequalification documents will include requirements for participation by contractors from Lesotho and South Africa.
Tente says that, although the LHWP project is two years behind schedule in terms of the timelines proposed in the feasibility report, Phase 2 is stepping ahead purposefully, with 2018 having been a busy year for both the water transfer and hydropower components.
Currently, around 35 contracts are in force for the project, covering services from environmental impact assessments, hydropower feasibility, geotechnical investigations and major bridges.
Meanwhile, resettlement planning is nearing completion and livelihood restoration demonstration projects have started in the project area.
Tente says further feasibility studies for the hydropower component of Phase 1 are nearing completion, which is expected by the second quarter of 2019. Conventional hydropower has been confirmed as the more feasible option to meet Lesotho’s energy needs, designated for two sites – on the Senqu river and on Oxbow.
Tente anticipates the infrastructure construction to be largely completed by 2020, before the dam and tunnel construction starts. “We are confident that 2019 will see Phase 2 taking great strides with activities on the ground.”