MASERU- Minister of Water Kimetso Mathaba has implemented the Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) strategy that aims to curb the prevailing water, land and related resources management challenges the country is facing.
As the custodian of water resources management in Lesotho, the ministry, through the adoption of Water and Sanitation Policy of 2007 and the Water Act of 2008 developed a long term water and sanitation strategy in 2016 which its main focus is on ICM.
Mathaba indicated that the main objective of the programme is to implement effective ICM activities in Lesotho through improved coordination among stakeholders involved in water, land and related resources management for sustainable use of natural resources.
“We are specifically looking into putting in place institutional and legal reforms, development of catchment management plans for each area for future development as well as consolidating and disseminating lessons learnt from pilot catchments,” he said.
Mathaba further noted that in an effort to implement the programme, the department under European Union Fund has developed an ICM framework that is going to guide the ICM implementation process.
“The department has also engaged a technical assistance to operationalize the framework in the preparation to the actual implementation of ICM,” he said.
He said the sustainability of water, land and related resources in the country is highly threatened by massive land degradation of catchment areas and adverse impacts of climate change which is pronounced by prolonged and recurring droughts followed with heavy rains.
“Unfortunately climate change has not been mainstreamed into water, land and related resources management plans and the challenge of land degradation and access to water and sanitation continues to increase in the country,” he said.
He further said water and land can be effectively and efficiently managed within the catchment area which indicates that coordinated and integrated planning is required which can be achieved through ICM.
However, the minister noted that the complexity of implementing ICM will be exacerbated by complicated issues of our land tenure system, land use patterns and varied roles played by stakeholders, communities and government.
Mathaba also added that coordination of efforts in terms of managing water, land and the environment is limited as various institutions responsible are applying their own individualized evaluation strategies with their unique objective and methods.
“For Lesotho to improve its land and water resources management and to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) there is need to establish and link ICM activities and all the relevant stakeholders need to combine efforts in a coordinated manner to address these challenges,” he said.