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S. Africa seeks international funding for water project

03-14-2012 10:46 BJT

CAPE TOWN, March 14 (Xinhua) -- South Africa on Tuesday called for international funding to help build a cross-border water project, which would benefit the country and Lesotho.

"We've got countries coming forward and offering us technology. They're saying they'd like to partner with us," Deputy Water Affairs Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi said.

Mabudafhasi said the country needed foreign capital to invest in the project, which would supply water from Lesotho to Gauteng, South Africa's industrial heartland.

The water project needs more than 60 billion rands (about 8 billion U.S. dollars) for water infrastructure over the next three years, according to the South African Press Association (SAPA).

Phase 2 of the project, including the building of a second big dam in Lesotho and the boring of a 38-km-long tunnel, was set to supply an additional 151 million cubic meters of water to the Vaal River system by July 2020, which would cost an estimated 15.4 billion rands (about 2 billion dollars).

Mabudafhasi refused to give further details on whether a big deal was imminent. "We are still talking," she said.

She added the project was a "classical example" of cross-border water management, and the two countries would benefit from the water that flowed from the mountain kingdom.

Lesotho would benefit from the revenue and job opportunities created by the project, and South Africa would get an assured supply of water, said Mabudafhasi.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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