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OFID/Luisa Gil

99

OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID)

OPEC bulletin 3–4/17

I

n 2003, OFID received a request from the government

of Lesotho for financial assistance to rehabilitatewater

infrastructure and extend distribution networks in the

capital city Maseru. The project that followed saw the

installation of 300 kilometres of pipeline, alongwith con-

nections and metres for thousands of homes.

Two new reservoirs were built, with a total storage

capacity of approximately 3,750 cubic metres, while

two existing reservoirs were enlarged. Two pumping sta-

tions were constructed, while another was completely

upgraded.

OFID joined with the Arab Bank for Economic

Development to co-finance the project, located in

the northwest and southwest zones of Maseru.

Previously in the capital, home to more than

450,000 people, only around one-half of the resi-

dents had an adequate supply of drinking water.

Others, especially those living in the peri-urban

areas, had to purchase water from vendors at

inflated prices, or wait in long queues at public

water points.

The project, executed by the country’s Water

andSewerageCompany,wasaresoundingsuccess.

Syahrul Luddin, OFID Country Officer for

Lesotho, explained that after the project’s comple-

tion in 2012 more than one million people in the

area could access safe water and sanitation.

“Women and children, whohadpreviously car-

ried the burden of fetching water, have benefited

most from the improvements,” he maintained.

Householdsconnected to thewater supplynet-

work are not only able to save money, as they no

longer have to pay the high prices demanded by water

resellers,buttheprojecthasalsoreducedtheuseofunsafe

water sources and the inadequate sewerage system.

Helping economic development

“The direct impact on people’s health was immediate,”

observedLuddin. Inaddition, theprojectalso contributed

to economic development since it provided water to sup-

port the garment manufacturing industry, he explained.

Improving access to water and sanitation

in Lesotho

At the inauguration ceremony of the Maseru Water Supply Project in 2012, OFID Director-

General, Suleiman J Al-Herbish, said: “Living conditions cannot be improved without access

to safe and reliable water.” Or to quote the words of Dr Timothy Thahane, Former Minister of

Finance of Lesotho: “Water is Life”. OFID’s

Silvia Mateyka

reports.

Suleiman J Al-Herbish (l),

OFID Director-General, during

a visit to Lesotho.