MASERU — The Metolong Dam could unlock vast opportunities in Lesotho’s struggling tourism sector when complete, Metolong Authority chief executive officer, Malcom Murray, has said.
Addressing the media at the Third Metolong Expo which began in Maseru on Tuesday, Murray said they were hopeful that the private sector will set up new business ventures near the dam.
“We have made a provision for a lodge and a shopping centre which the private sector can utilise and take advantage of the opportunities that may exist,” Murray said.
Construction of the multi-million-dollar Metolong Dam is set to begin in December. The dam is expected to supply clean water for industrial and domestic use in urban areas.
Murray said they also expected communities living near the dam to develop intensive farming projects with the dam providing water for irrigation purposes.
Last week, Millennium Challenge Account chief executive officer, Sophia Mohapi, told our sister paper the Sunday Express that construction of the dam was due to start in December with the deadline for bids to build the water treatment plant set for August.
Murray urged local construction firms to take advantage of the project.
“There are a lot of opportunities for local contractors in the conveyance and water treatment plant as there is a lot of building (which is going to take place). We also urge international companies to employ local people,” he said.
Murray said the design of the dam and the conveyance system was already underway. He said the design was being done by a South African engineering company, Gibb, in conjunction with a Jordanian engineering consultancy firm, Consolidated Consultants — Engineering & Environment.
“We are encouraging partnerships between domestic construction companies and international companies,” he said.
For the design of the conveyance system a South African company and a local company were working jointly in the design.
Murray said the Metolong Dam project was still on schedule and he was confident that construction works will be completed just before the commissioning of the dam in 2013.
He said construction of access roads and the provision of electricity had already been completed.
Murray said the dam will have a holding capacity of 53 million cubic metres while the water treatment plant will process one cubic metre of water per second.
The dam is expected to supply clean water for domestic and industrial use to people in Maseru, Roma, Morija, Mazenod and Teyateyaneng in Berea district.
At least 250 villages dotted around the country are set to benefit from the project.
The construction of the Metolong Dam is being financed by the government of Lesotho and a number of donor agencies who include the Kuwait Fund, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, Opec Fund, the Saudi Fund Consortium, Millennium Challenge Corporation, World Bank and the Republic of South Africa.