A significant maintenance operation is on the horizon as the Delivery Tunnel North (DTN) and Ash River Outfall of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) are set for a six-month shutdown beginning 01 October 2024. This planned operation, following nearly a quarter-century of uninterrupted service, highlights the commitment to ensuring the long-term functionality and reliability of the critical water infrastructure serving numerous communities.
To ensure the success of this vast initiative, a strategic partnership has been formed with Hatch Africa, an industry powerhouse. With a track record of providing top-notch consulting, technological support, and project construction management across sectors like mining, energy, and infrastructure, Hatch Africa is well-suited to bolster this essential maintenance project.
The partnership was solidified in a recent ceremony held at the Centurion offices. Representing Hatch Africa was Bruce MacKay, the US-based Managing Director for Hatch’s water business, while Johannes Mavuso, Executive Manager for Project Management and Implementation, represented TCTA.
Mavuso emphasized the importance of this endeavour, stating, “The LHWP-1 symbolises a cornerstone of bi-national infrastructure collaboration between Lesotho and South Africa. This maintenance period is pivotal in ensuring continued meticulous monitoring of water use and flow in the rivers during the shutdown.”
Initiated in January 1998, the LHWP-1 has been a beacon of reliability for 25 years. Such systems require regular checks and maintenance, typically every five to ten years. The 2024 shutdown seeks to facilitate an all-encompassing examination of the DTN and Ash River Outfall, including detailed assessments, repair advisories, and exhaustive reports on parts only reachable when devoid of water.
The upcoming operation will concentrate on pivotal repair areas pinpointed in a 2019 inspection, covering the rehabilitation of steel liners and dewatering shaft piping, with additional considerations for the Ash River. This strategic move ensures that the water infrastructure continues to serve the community efficiently, demonstrating the importance of timely maintenance and strong partnerships.
The DTN is a 21.2km long water tunnel designed to transfer water from the Muela Dam in Lesotho to the Ash River in South Africa.