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Groot, S. de

Towards water wisdom in Cape Town : An exploration of potential water scarcity measures and required conditions

Groot, S. de

Titre : Towards water wisdom in Cape Town : An exploration of potential water scarcity measures and required conditions

Auteur : Groot, S. de

Université de soutenance : Utrecht University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2019

Résumé
Cape Town suffered an extreme three year drought (2015-2018) resulting in a water scarcity crisis. ‘Day zero’, the day the city would have to turn off domestic taps, was averted due to strict water conservation and crisis augmentation measures. While the drought was extreme, the water crisis is also attributed to governance failings in media and academic research. Due to climate change, similar droughts are expected to occur more frequently in the future, reducing the accessible water supply to the City of Cape Town (CCT). Persistent increase in consumption and population growth will simultaneously continue to increase the CCT’s demand for water. The CCT and the national Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) have implemented various saving (e.g. regulating tariffs ; consumption restrictions), buffering (e.g aquifers ; reservoirs) and alternative-supply (e.g desalination ; wastewater reuse) measures to reconcile supply and demand. Various institutional, physical, economic and equitability conditions need to be present to ensure that these measures are implemented effectively, fairly and sustainably. Research presenting effective water management conditions or analysing possible measures to prevent droughts is prevalent, also for CCT specifically. However, an integral framework and method for connecting conditions and measures is lacking. This thesis aims to bridge this gap by : (1) summarizing the measures that can be taken to avoid water scarcity and (2) assessing the presence of the conditions necessary for these measures to work effectively in CCT. This is done with the ambition to recommend which measures could be implemented to effectively reduce the chance of water scarcity in CCT in the future. Data was collected through a literature review, expert interviews and using governmental, NGO and case-specific academic publications. This study found that the CCT and DWS should focus on pressure management and the removal of non-native vegetation as cost-effective demand-oriented measures. Furthermore, the absence of financial capacity strongly influences the possibility of effectively implementing other supply- or demand-oriented measures. A ‘rainless-day’ fund could improve this condition and the chance of measures working more effectively. Some measures require further research to be made more equitable. This includes the current means of revenue collection (which disproportionately burdens larger - and often poorer - households), the procedure for reallocation of water rights (which is slow and vulnerable to appeals processes), and the possibilities of aquifer recharge with treated wastewater (which would provide a sustainable solution for aquifer depletion and the acceptance of wastewater reuse).

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Page publiée le 8 avril 2021