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Our Water Future: Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste<p>Cape Town has, over the past few years, been in the grip of the most severe and protracted drought in recorded history, and even many years prior to the start of record keeping. Scientists have classified this as a 1 in 590-year event.</p><p>Two years ago, when the possibility of Day Zero for Cape Town was announced, dam levels were at 25% and bottomed out at 19% before receiving some comparatively decent rainfall during the winter 2018 rainfall period. </p><p>Through a combination of enormous efforts by residents to reduce water consumption, a range of interventions by the City administration (including intensive pressure management, restructuring of water tariffs and water augmentation projects), we pulled through the worst of it without ever having to turn off taps and implement the Day Zero scenario.</p><p>Residents reduced consumption by almost 60% in world record breaking time, resulting in Cape Town being formally acknowledged by the International Water Association, and recognised as the global ‘Water Saving Capital’. </p><p>But little is known of the extensive work carried out by our highly-skilled and dedicated staff who preserved our limited water supplies through technical interventions. </p><p>I would like to thank our technical teams for all their hard work, as they have been the unsung heroes of this story.</p><p>The City’s advanced pressure management programme alone achieved a saving of approximately 2.6 billion litres of water in a single year, and that is an extremely conservative estimate. During the most intensive pressure management intervention, a daily saving of 70 Ml was achieved, but as urgency has eased, this figure has lowered and this programme is being monitored for fine tuning on a daily basis.</p><p>The City’s pipe replacement programme sees us replacing about 30 km of sewer and 40 km of water mains each year. This has reduced the frequency of pipe bursts from 69 bursts per 100 km in 2010 to 17 bursts per 100 km in 2019. </p><p>The City also has leak detection teams in operation which move through the suburbs detecting underground leaks, and as the drought intensified, the<br>City substantially increased the number of water inspectors and water response teams.</p><p>During the 2017/2018 financial year, City staff attended to 588 504 service requests (C3 notifications). If each service request represented a seat in the Cape Town Stadium, this amount would represent the stadium being filled at capacity five times over. For comparison, in the 2014/2015 financial year, a total of 372 451 service requests were logged and attended to.<br>The lessons learnt during this challenging time were incredibly valuable, and the City remains committed to ensuring that momentum of these learnings are not lost. These lessons have formed the foundation of our journey towards greater sustainability and resilience. </p><p>Through the expertise and inputs from many stakeholders and partners internally and externally, our Water Strategy was developed, and approved by Council in May 2019. </p><p>This is not only a strategy document but a commitment to our residents, with clearly set-out timeframes and budgets to ensure implementation is realised.</p><p>The Strategy is a long term plan with very ambitious objectives, as it aims to guide Cape Town towards becoming Water Resilient by 2030, and achieve Water Sensitive City status by 2040. </p><p>A Water Sensitive city is one that is resilient, liveable, productive and sustainable. In a Water Sensitive city, we interact with the urban water cycle in ways that provide water security through efficient use of diverse available resources; enhance and protect the health of our waterways, wetlands and coast; mitigate flood risk and damage; and create public spaces that collect, clean and recycle water.</p><p>The City has received a huge vote of confidence by the German government, who have given Grant funding amounting to €5.7million, or approximately R93 million, to fund a range of projects within the Strategy.</p><p>For the German government to consider such a substantial investment into the implementation of the City’s Water Strategy is a significant indication of good faith and confidence in the exemplary work that has been produced by our Water and Sanitation Department. </p><p>The grant comes from the Federal German Government, via the German Development Bank KfW. It will be used to fund a broad range of technical assistance and education and training measures to support the City’s drive towards water resilience. The German side aims to support its South African partners in the transition towards a “Green Economy” with specific focus on energy efficiency and the sustainable use of resources in view of climate change in the region. This is a huge boost to the City’s momentum in realising the ambitious goals outlined in the Strategy.</p><p>The grant comprises two broad allocations, with €1.2 million allocated for education and training measures in wastewater treatment and €4.5 million allocated for supporting the City in becoming more resource efficient. </p><p>It will be used for a range of professional services and technical training, including optimal use of wastewater as a resource, with energy/resource efficiency and price considerations; greenhouse gas reduction objectives; development of a risk management strategy for reuse and appropriate monitoring programme taking into account contaminants of emerging concern (CECs); and updating the City’s stormwater master plans; along with various other projects.</p><p>The City Council approved the Water and Waste Directorate’s request to enter into this agreement on 5 December 2019, indicating ongoing political resolve to significantly mitigate climate change risks.</p><p>A city that safeguards itself against water risks is characterised by shared accountability. </p><p>The world is still watching Cape Town and is keenly waiting to see how lessons are translated into action.</p><p>While we have achieved a lot, there is still a long way to go. </p><p>Today, we would like to share where we are in our journey to rising up to the challenge of achieving water security during a time of diminishing climate predictability. </p><p><br><strong>End</strong></p>2020-02-18T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891d;GP0|#904f8ac3-ad18-4896-a9a8-86feb1d4a1b7;L0|#0904f8ac3-ad18-4896-a9a8-86feb1d4a1b7|StatementsGP0|#2189b460-af85-46eb-8bfa-1d128ad3a745;L0|#02189b460-af85-46eb-8bfa-1d128ad3a745|water security;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#64cbcded-2450-464f-b1ec-c0f303bcd4a4;L0|#064cbcded-2450-464f-b1ec-c0f303bcd4a4|Climate change1

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