New initiative to ensure Cape Town has adequate water

3rd December 2021

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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A new partnership has been launched to help Cape Town become more water secure amid the threat of future droughts brought on by climate change.

The Table Mountain Water Source Partnership was launched on November 15 at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.

The drought and subsequent Day Zero warnings in Cape Town during 2017 had highlighted the need to look at alternative water supplies, in particular groundwater, which was identified as a key resource for bulk water augmentation, and unveiled the risk of over-abstraction in the absence of a coherent management and monitoring plan.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), following the drought and Day Zero warnings, piloted a citizen groundwater monitoring project with funding from AB InBev as a first step towards safeguarding this resource.

“In South Africa, we need to value groundwater for the precious resource it is. This is particularly important in the light of the climate challenges that lie ahead for our water-stressed country,” explains WWF South Africa CEO Dr Morné du Plessis.

In line with this, in 2020, a groundwater stakeholder group of private-sector, governance bodies, research and nongovernmental organisations had been convened to improve water security through the monitoring and management of water resources in and around the Table Mountain Strategic Water Source Area.

The group, which includes the City of Cape Town, the Danish Embassy, the Department of Water and Sanitation, GreenCape, the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape, the Water Research Commission, Anheuser-Busch and WWF, further signed a collaborative agreement last month.

“Today is memorable because, after a long delay due to the pandemic, all partner institutions can finally come together to launch the Table Mountain Water Source Partnership at the foot of this iconic mountain,” says WWF South Africa freshwater programme lead Ruth Beukman.

The partnership aims to strengthen governance by building diverse community public–private partnerships; implement strategic water stewardship interventions to strengthen water resource management and support the sustainable use of water and land; and create opportunities and capacity, as well as shared benefits, in local communities across the Table Mountain Water Source Area.

With further funding from the Danish Embassy, project activities will include building groundwater awareness, monitoring, data display and sharing, policy review and the further co-creation of the Table Mountain Water Source Partnership.

Along with the Royal Danish Embassy, Sanlam and AB InBev are providing funding support.

“The Danish government has invested R11-million into the Table Mountain Water Source Partnership because we believe that a collaborative approach is the best way to fully realise the sustainable potential of groundwater in South Africa. Initiatives such as this show how this can be achieved,” concludes Danish Ambassador to South Africa Tobias Elling Rehfeld.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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