Cape Town's 2017 drought and Day Zero period highlighted the need to look at alternative water supplies, in particular groundwater, which was identified as a key resource for bulk water augmentation. This realisation prompted WWF, with funding from AB InBev, to pilot a citizen groundwater monitoring project as a first step towards safeguarding this resource.
The Table Mountain Water Source Partnership, launched at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden on Monday, is aimed at helping Cape Town to become water secure, even in the face of future droughts brought on by climate change.
As a next step, a groundwater stakeholder group, representing the private sector, governance bodies, research and NGOs, was convened in 2020 to improve water security through the monitoring and management of water resources in and around the Table Mountain Strategic Water Source Area.
This group, which includes the City of Cape Town, Danish Embassy, Department of Water and Sanitation, GreenCape, University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, Water Research Commission, Anheuser-Busch and WWF, recently signed a collaborative agreement.
The key objectives of this partnership are to strengthen governance by building diverse community public private partnerships; implement strategic water stewardship interventions to strengthen water resource management which supports sustainable use of water and land; and create opportunities and capacity in local communities as well as shared benefits in 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.
Dr Morné du Plessis, WWF South Africa CEO commented: “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.”