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Lesotho Water Security and Climate Change Assessment

World Bank Group working paper

Author(s): Wishart, M. ; Huber-Lee, A. ; Joyce, B. ; Galaitsi, S. ; Emenanjo, I.; Liden, R.; Heumesser, C.; Engle, N.L.; Croneborg, L.; Yates, D.; et al.
Year: 2016

Water is one of Lesotho's most valuable natural assets, contributing roughly 10% of gross GDP. A large portion of this benefit comes from revenues associated with the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), a multi-stage infrastructure project that enables the transfer of water from Lesotho to the Gauteng region of South Africa and contributes to the development of hydropower resources in Lesotho.

Balancing the opportunities afforded by the LHWP with the need to enhance national water resources infrastructure and increase water security is central to the government's long-term vision for development and sustainable growth. This analysis conducts the first systematic examination of the vulnerabilities of Lesotho's water management system to climate change by exploring a set of adaptation strategies across a wide range of potential future conditions.

Given the importance of water to long-term sustainable economic growth in Lesotho, extensive quantitative and qualitative analyses have been used to identify strategies that demonstrate successful system performance over a wide range of plausible future scenarios. The analysis looks specifically at the need to ensure continued development of water resources within Lesotho, to increase security around the nexus of water, food, and energy along with sustained economic development, while also ensuring that Lesotho is able to meet its water transfer obligations to South Africa.

The analysis does not prescribe a water management strategy for Lesotho based on a single prediction of the future, but quantifies the range of possible future conditions to empower stakeholders and demonstrate the benefits that can be realized over a broad range of possible future outcomes.

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