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‘Mokose launches water management system




WATER Minister Ralechate ’Mokose launched Ecosystem Approach Framework for Integrated Water Resources Management in Lesotho yesterday.

’Mokose described what he launched as an integrated, stakeholders driven, scientific and adaptive means of focusing on long term, sustainable ecosystem functioning that benefits its users.

“The objective of this launch is to hand over to the implementing government agencies an important tool that pays attention to community livelihoods and resilience to water and other related threats,” ’Mokose said.

The launched Ecosystem Approach Framework, ’Mokose said, aptly fits together with integrated water resources management which is a process that promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources.

He said it will “maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner, without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems”.

The Ecosystem Approach Framework was initiated and developed by a local NGO, Serumula Development Association, with funds from the United States of America International Development (USAID) with the aim to help communities in Mphaki in Quthing district.

A consultant of Serumula, Thabo Mobala, said the project was not easy to facilitate but through working hand in hand with the community this project was a success.

“It was a huge challenge. This project was the initiative of the community. We once did such kind of project in Mount Moorosi in Quthing and the response of the community has been quite impressive,” Mobala said.

“We are going to work closely with the ministries for funding as we have been doing all initiatives through manpower. People were not paid in lifato-fato (food/cash for work projects) to improve their rangelands in villages so we are striving to create jobs while managing resources,” he said.

Eighty percent of farmers harvested almost nothing during the last harvest period and “even if we see normal rainfall levels this year, it will take years to recover from the shock of this year’s drought”.

Speaking at the launch, the United States Ambassador Matthew Harrington said the second reason this work is vital is because Lesotho plays a critical role in the region in terms of sustainable water management.

All major rivers in Southern Africa flow across national boundaries.

Harrington said what that means is that cooperative decision-making and management is necessary to ensure equitable and efficient of use of water.

The Orange-Senqu River basin covers a one million square kilometer-area that includes the central part of South Africa, southeastern Botswana, southern Namibia and all Lesotho.

“It’s worth keeping in mind two critical points, first is that we live in a water scarce region, and second that Lesotho plays a critical role in regional water management,” Harrington said.

Lesotho lies entirely in the river basin with the country area constituting 3.2 percent of the total basin area of close to one million square kilometers.

However and quite interesting, Lesotho contributes about 41 percent of runoff (river flows) that drains to the Atlantic Ocean.

Orange –Senqu river originates from Lesotho and this does not only give an advantage to utilize its resources as the riparian user but also commits Lesotho in liaison with countries sharing the resource to manage the river sustainably for the benefit of downstream users.

“It is therefore important that Lesotho rigorously employ management instruments and tools like one we are launching if we are to keep contributing the said 41 percent runoff for now and for future generations,” ’Mokose said.

’Mokose further showed that initiatives have been done in the sector to address the catchment management issues nationally through an integrated approach.

One of the initiatives is the Khubelu Sponge Project where government department in conjunction with Private Sector (Letšeng Diamond Mines) and the resource users (Community-based Organizations) embarked on rehabilitation of degraded alpine wetlands and employing the new methods of range management.

“I would like to ferry my profound thanks to Serumula Development Association for having initiated the launching of this framework and indeed their hard work with their colleagues to develop this tool,” ’Mokose said.

“It is my hope that this tool will guide all those involved in the ecosystem management to apply it with community involvement like Serumula did,” he said.

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