The Environment and Agriculture: Lesotho
Water in Africa
- Africa, Lesotho
by Peter Yurich, Ha Khayensti, Lesotho
In my area there do not seem to be any major recent changes. The water taps from the spring boxes on the mountain have brought the water to the villages and it is easy to get. If the taps are not working, then getting water is a problem because of the distance one has to carry it. The animals are taken to the river to drink. But right now the river has very little water.
by MaryAnn Camp, Ha Rantubu, Lesotho
I have not been aware of any technological advancements in my local village. In my previous village my tutor told me of times before the wells were installed—10 years ago. They had to walk five miles to a small pond that had an inlet and outlet but was usually covered with scum. She said they scraped off the scum, dug down into the sand, and waited for clean water to come through. The installing of pumps certainly relieved much work, and the health improved in the village of Ha Ralintsi. Deaths from typhoid had been reported, which spurred the Health Department to install these new pumps.
One of my Peace Corps colleagues has reported to me that she is getting funding for a solar pump in her village.
by Claire Hilger, Christ the King Mission, Qacha's Nek, Lesotho
Protecting springs and providing taps has drastically improved the quality of water. But this is only true for villages near the road. Remote villages still collect their water from unprotected springs or streams where cattle are likely to cross or even humans. This advancement tends to help the few people who already had advanced water systems, like the sisters at the mission. The poorest, most remote villages have the worst water supply. It should be noted that water quality is generally better in Lesotho than in most other African countries, because it is too cold for tropical diseases to be prevalent. Giardia, a one-celled protozoan that causes diarrhea, is present in the water.
by Cynthia Holahan, Ha Nkoka, Thaba-Tseka District, Lesotho
I guess the advancement of new technology has helped to improve the quality of water in my village. I have been told that before the present water system was installed, people collected water from natural springs that were often very dirty, slow, and unreliable. People often walked more than two kilometers to find a full spring. If no spring had water, they would use water from the river, which often caused people to become sick, especially during the dry season.
by Becki Krieg, Qacha's Nek, Lesotho
The farmers in Lesotho depend entirely on rain for their crops to grow. In my village there is one farmer who received foreign aid to set up some irrigation pipes. He is very lucky. However, he is only one farmer out of the many in this country who have no irrigation. Also, his farmland is very small.
This farmer has very little money to maintain his new irrigation system. If anything breaks, he does not have the money to repair it now. Then he too will depend on nature, like everyone else.
Foreign aid is readily available in Lesotho. However, there is usually no plan for the maintenance of the new technology foreign countries install. Either the money is not available for repairs or there is no person skilled to do the work. Also it is difficult to get the parts that are needed to repair equipment
by Amy Bratsch, Ha Thamere-Qutin-Mount Moorosi, Lesotho
The quality of water has not changed since I have lived here. The big advancement was the placement of another water tap. However, both taps are regulated the same and provide water on the same day at the same time. The big improvement was in the length of lines of people waiting to get water. They're much shorter now.
by JeanMarie Mitchell, Ha Tebelo, Lesotho
In Lesotho, soil erosion is a major problem for the environment. Only 12 percent of the land here is arable, but farming exists everywhere. Grazing animals are another huge problem, as well. Cattle just roam the lands going anywhere and everywhere. With the mountainous terrain, heavy winds, and heavy rain, the soil is just all washed away down into deep rifts. The rifts are everywhere, and so much water just washes down them with good topsoil. Maybe in some places there is a dam to catch water in a pool, but they are few and far between. The one near my village has been dry since April. The water comes down from the main springs. Most of the time it is good, but after a heavy rain, it is brown and very unclean. Rural Water Supply is a part of the Water Affairs Department that is responsible for supplying villages in rural areas with potable water. However, there is one per district and once your village applies for a well or tap it may take five years to receive it.