[ACCI-CAVIE] The governments of South Africa and Eswatini are planning to build more dams in the Komati River Basin for irrigation purposes.
The Eswatini government, that made the announcement, said between 2 and 9 March 2023 the two governments would “engage” the public in their review of the Komati River Basin Treaty.
The treaty, signed in 1992, is the blueprint for both countries’ use and development of the Komati River Basin. It is being run through line ministries responsible for water in both countries which form the Komati Basin Water Authority (Kobwa).
Through the treaty, the basin forms Maguga Dam in Eswatini, which provides 20MW of hydroelectricity. The dam, which is also used for irrigation, is the biggest public works project ever in Eswatini.
On the South African side, the basin forms the Driekoppies Dam, which is used for irrigation projects in Mpumalanga.
The Eswatini government said the treaty had not been renewed and that the two countries “would like to enhance and elevate the operations of Kobwa’s mandate”.
The two countries intended to manage Kobwa as an accredited water management institution and wanted to move to the second phase of the project, which would result in the construction of additional dams at the Komati Water Basin.
For that, public submissions have been invited from both countries.
Dorcas Dlamini, principal secretary in Eswatini’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy, said:
South Africa will hold a stakeholders’ meeting at the Pestana Kruger Lodge in Malelane on Thursday. A week later on 9 March, Eswatini will engage the public at Piggs Peak Hotel in Mbabane.
By Lenin Ndebele and LB