Katse Dam in the Lesotho Highlands, from where Rand Water gets its supply. Photo: ANA.

JOHANNESBURG - The Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which delivers water to the Vaal River System is going to "shut down for maintenance" later in the year from October to November, the Department of Water and Sanitation said on Wednesday.

"The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority in conjunction with the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority are planning to do a planned shutdown of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), water transfer and delivery tunnel and associated systems during the months of October and November 2019," said the water and sanitation department.

"The aim of the shutdown is to allow the two entities to effectively perform maintenance work that will ensure that the conveyance system continues to operate optimally. The last shutdown for maintenance was conducted during the same period in 2012.

"During this period no water will be transferred from LHWP to the Vaal River System and the Ash and Liebenbergsvlei Rivers may thus come to a standstill."

Dr Tseliso Ntili, the water and sanitation department's provincial head in the Free State, said municipalities in Mafube, Nketoana and Dihlabeng will be affected. 

Ntili said the department has contingency plans in place for the shutdown period. 

"Farmers along the river will also be notified so that over-abstraction does not take place during the shutdown period. The shutdown might also affect the planting season," said Ntili, adding: "The department would like to advise all those that will be affected by this activity that water provision will not be adversely affected by this.

"The department will closely monitor the use and flow of water in the rivers mentioned during the shutdown period and patrons are thus requested to use water sparingly."

African News Agency (ANA)