Project Overview

Joint Detailed Feasibility Study

The detailed feasibility studies to suit the requirements of the two governments were carried out from August 1983 to December 1985 by Lahmeyer MacDonald Consortium (comprising Lahmeyer International of Germany and Sir Malcolm MacDonald of U.K.) for GOL and Olivier Shand Consortium (comprising Henry Olivier and Ninham Shand Inc.) for RSA. The government of Lesotho’s interests were looked after by the LHWP Unit (LHDA’s and JPTC-GOL’s predecessor) who were assisted by TAMS Pty. (Ltd.) of the U.S.A. in the technical review field. The LHWP unit and TAMS together formed the Study Supervisor for GOL on the Feasibility Study from 1983 to 1986.

The main objectives of the feasibility study were:

  • Selection of the optimal scheme layout acceptable to both governments;
  • Demonstrating that the project would be technically, socially, legally, environmentally, economically and financially viable;
  • Carrying out of studies, designs and costing which would be used for purposes of preparation of tender designs and associated investigations.

Detailed reports issued under the detailed feasibility studies were in volumes as follows:

  1. Hydrology Studies
  2. Geo-technical and construction materials studies
  3. Environmental and social impact in Lesotho
  4. Topographic surveys and mapping
  5. Management and Manpower Studies
  6. Legal Studies in Lesotho
  7. Infrastructure
  8. Design Studies
  9. Project Cost Studies
  10. Economic and Financial Appraisal

The Feasibility study established the economic viability of the project to deliver about 70m³/s of water from the highlands of Lesotho to the Vaal River system by the year 2020. The project was to be developed in a number of phases and the project was found to be the cheapest option compared to other competing schemes in RSA.

Hydroelectric power was to be generated in Lesotho, which offered Lesotho the opportunity for a substantial element of independence in electricity supplies.

The study confirmed that there were no technical, social, environmental, legal, economic or financial considerations, which would invalidate the conclusions that the recommended project would provide considerable benefits for both countries.