The Lesotho Highlands Water Project:
Environmental flow allocations in an international river
Lesotho is a mountainous, land-locked country completely surrounded by South Africa.
The powerful rivers that drain the region had virtually natural flow until the 1990s, as the Eastern Highlands are remote and sparsely inhabited by rural communities, and the rivers flow through deep gorges that provide little opportunity for urban or agricultural development.
Lesotho is one of the ten poorest countries in the world and river water was seen as an important potential source of revenue for this small developing country. Nearby South Africa was a potential recipient of the water.