The Katse Dam, built high in the Maluti Mountains and named after a revered man who once lived at the site, is at the heart of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. This is the land of the “blanket people”, who ride their sturdy ponies, build picturesque houses and greet visitors with a dignified salute.
All the major rivers of landlocked Lesotho are well-stocked with the finest trout, and with the exception of the Tugela, flow west into the Atlantic Ocean. (The Orange River starts as the Senqu River near Cathedral Peak). The Lesotho Highlands Water Project has changed all this, with water now being diverted north by gravity.
This dam is a concrete arch dam on the Malibamat’so River in Lesotho, is Africa's second largest dam (the Tekezé Dam, completed in early 2009, is now Africa's largest double curvature dam). The dam is part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which will eventually include five large dams in remote rural areas.
The potential of the project was identified by the South African civil engineer, Ninham Shand (now Aurecon) as a possible means to supplement the water supply to South Africa. The World Bank arranged for a treaty between the governments of South Africa and Lesotho, allowing execution of the project to proceed.