WWF and Danish Embassy launched the Table Mountain Water Source Partnership to strengthen local groundwater governance in light of the the near Day Zero experience in Cape Town, which has stressed the necessity for water security. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
WWF and Danish Embassy launched the Table Mountain Water Source Partnership to strengthen local groundwater governance in light of the the near Day Zero experience in Cape Town, which has stressed the necessity for water security. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Table Mountain Water Source Partnership aims to make Cape Town water secure

By Kristin Engel Time of article published Nov 16, 2021

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Cape Town - Since the near Day Zero experience in Cape Town, groundwater has become a key resource for water security and for bulk water augmentation, and to strengthen local groundwater governance, WWF together with the Danish Embassy launched the Table Mountain Water Source Partnership at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden on Monday.

With a growing community of public and private partnerships, the Table Mountain Water Source Partnership ultimately aims to help Cape Town become water secure, even in the face of future droughts brought on by climate change.

WWF (the World Wide Fund for Nature), with initial funding from AB InBev, piloted a citizen groundwater monitoring project as the first step towards safeguarding this resource, which was followed by a groundwater stakeholder group to improve water security through monitoring and managing water resources in and around the Table Mountain Strategic Water Source Area.

The partnership of stakeholders include the City of Cape Town, Danish Embassy, Department of Water and Sanitation, GreenCape, UCT, University of the Western Cape, Water Research Commission, Anheuser-Busch and WWF.

the Danish government invested R11 million into the Table Mountain Water Source Partnership, believing a collaborative approach was the best way to fully realise the sustainable potential of groundwater in South Africa.

Danish Ambassador to South Africa Tobias Elling Rehfeld said he was concerned about the water security issues in the country and in Cape Town, that was why they had such a strong partnership with WWF.

“There’s a huge amount of water that is being lost. In Denmark we lose about 7% of our water in leaks and pipes that don't work, in South Africa it’s anywhere between 30% and 50% so even if there is water, it’s being lost along the way. This project is about protecting the water we have but also about educating people on the valuable resource of water,” Rehfeld said.

Funding from the Danish Embassy was to bolster the project’s activities to include building groundwater awareness, monitoring, data display and sharing, policy review and the further co-creation of the Table Mountain Water Source Partnership.

WWF South Africa chief executive officer Morné du Plessis said the partnership was a deliberate initiative to bring together civil society, faith groups, schools and non-governmental organisations that would build awareness, and would use technical experts to deepen understanding.

“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,” Du Plessis said.

City representative and geohydrologist Candice Lasher-Scheepers said they supported and endorsed this project because groundwater was a precious resource and was part of the realisation of their 2019 water strategy which took the responsible use of groundwater to a greater scale.

Department of Water and Sanitation acting director for Water Resource Support Melissa Lintaar-Strauss from the Western Cape provincial office, said the drought taught them quite a few lessons and if another drought occurred, groundwater would be the next available source.

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Cape Argus

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