05 December 2019

The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) tunnel
has been reopened, with water having reached the Saulspoort dam, in Bethlehem,
in the Free State, the Department of Water and Sanitation announced on

The replenishing of the tunnel started on November
20, after a two-month shutdown for inspections and maintenance work.

Water will start flowing into the Vaal dam, which
is currently at 40.2% full, within 10 to 15 days.

“Water started flowing into the Katse tunnel in
Lesotho before December 1, following the completion of all the repairs and
installation of equipment,” the department said in a statement.

The flow of water paves the way for the transfer of
water from Lesotho to resume.

The LHWP augments the water resources in the
Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS), which provides water to Rand Water, Sasol,
Eskom and a large number of smaller users.

The planned shutdown period was from October 1 to
November 30, with no water transfers made to the IVRS during this period.

Prior to this, the last shut down for maintenance was conducted in 2012. 

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