Upgrading the RIBASIM software and its institutionalisation at the Ministry of Water
Water is an important resource for Lesotho and the country is known as the ‘Water Tower’ of Southern Africa. Lesotho exports water to South Africa and generates hydropower through the Highlands’ water. Also in the Lowlands the water sector is rapidly expanding to satisfy the domestic, commercial and industrial demand in towns and villages.
Mitigating the effect of climate change in Lesotho and the extensive water harvesting makes it imperative for the Ministry of Water to enhance its capacity in water resources assessment, management and development.
The Ministry currently faces various capacity constraints in relation to
(i) operation of its monitoring network for hydrometric, meteorological, groundwater and water quality data as well as
(ii) effective use and interrogation of basin models such as RIBASIM, a model for analysing the behaviour of river basins under various hydrological conditions.
The expected results of the assignment of Stichting Deltares are that
- the actual RIBASIM software and the upgraded model for Lesotho are licensed, installed and functional and suitable back-up support is provided and
- 10 professional staff members (two of them women) of the Department of Water Affairs, the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority, the Lesotho Meteorological Services and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security are trained in i) calibration of the upgraded RIBASIM model; ii) simulation of various scenarios in terms of alternative scheme layouts, changes in water availability (climate change scenarios) and various scenarios for water demand development; iii) mainstreaming of interlinkages, environmental and social issues, in those scenarios and iv) interpretation of model results.
The 2 million inhabitants of Lesotho will finally benefit from the Ministry’s sound decision making to manage Lesotho’s water resources and to ensure water resource development in terms of sustainable economic development, improved livelihood and food security.