As Cape Town fears a dry future, it looks at other cities’ strategies
The City of Cape Town will look to the world’s leading cities to find solutions to its water woes.
This comes amid fears that Capetonians are weeks away from running out of water.
On Friday, mayor Patricia de Lille said the city hoped to help solve the problem as it took its place in the 100 Resilient Cities initiative‚ which was started by the Rockefeller Foundation and includes cities such as Athens‚ Barcelona‚ Atlanta‚ London and Los Angeles.
Cape Town is currently running a workshop aimed at identifying its vulnerabilities.
"One big stress that we are dealing with now is the drought. It’s the worst drought in 100 years and we are becoming very critical now in that we have got less than 21% of water in our dams‚" said De Lille.
"The lessons that we are going to learn in this drought will be part of our resilience strategy on how to cope‚ how to manage and how to adapt [as a] drought-stricken area."
Craig Kesson‚ who works in De Lille’s office‚ will be the City’s chief resilience officer responsible for driving the strategies developed.
Through Cape Town’s membership of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative it will have access to funding and expertise from the other cities.
Dana Omran‚ of the Rockefeller Foundation‚ said the city would have a platform of almost 200 tools and services‚ valued at $250m.
"To give you a sense‚ we have major tech companies like Microsoft … we have international financial institutions like the International Finance Corporation and several financial institutions and nongovernmental organisations that have pledged to give tools and services to cities who go through our programme‚" she said.
Cape Town could learn from cities such Berkeley City‚ in the US‚ which realised it could save more water by simply fixing the leaks in their infrastructure‚ Omran said.
"They started to develop innovative solutions on how to capture rainwater and how to use that rainwater for landscaping; for example, gardens of public parks‚ and developing water catchment systems for the city‚" she said.
Mexico City‚ which is working on developing a water fund to secure its water supply for the future‚ is another example that Cape Town could work with.
"We have some great tangible examples from the network and we are looking forward to helping Cape Town navigate those examples‚" she added.
De Lille’s government also hopes the city will use the expertise they gain to deal with other problems such as crime‚ ageing infrastructure‚ drug and alcohol abuse‚ food insecurity‚ fire and traffic congestion.