Utilities of Lesotho


The Highlands Water Development Project, undertaken jointly with South Africa and begun in 1986, will eventually make the country self-sufficient in electricity and is providing income by supplying South Africa with water. The project comprises a series of dams and tunnels, which will take water from the Orange River and tributaries in the Maloti Mountains northwards to the Vaal industrial basin in South Africa. The first phase included the construction of a 185-metre dam at Katse – the highest in Africa – and was completed in 1996. The whole scheme is projected to be completed by 2020 and has already provided substantial spin-off benefits of improvements in infrastructure and employment.



Electricity is provided by the state-owned Lesotho Electricity Company, with some power purchased from South Africa’s Eskom. Lesotho is hoping to sell the power generated by the Highlands Water Development Project to Eskom in the near future.



The state-owned Water and Sewerage Company supplies potable water to houses in the urban areas of Lesotho. Seventy-eight per cent of the population use an improved source of drinking water and 26 per cent have adequate sanitation facilities (2010).



There are 18 main telephone lines, 562 mobile phone subscriptions and 42 internet users per 1,000 people (2011). Telecommunications in Lesotho are liberalised, with Vodacom and Econet being the major players in the mobile market. The government owns a 30 per cent share of Econet. Mobile market penetration is still below the African average.