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CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town’s draft water strategy has opened for public comments and recommendations, and citizens have a calendar month, until March 15, to make their inputs.

"The primary purpose of this strategy is to ensure that the city will be more resilient to future droughts," the city said in a statement on Sunday.

In summary, the strategy articulated the city’s plan to ensure greater water security over the next 10 years as it moved towards being a water-sensitive city.

New surface water resources were limited. Therefore, in future a greater proportion of Cape Town’s water demand would be met from alternative sources, including groundwater, water re-use, and desalination.

Based on scenario analysis, the city committed to increasing available capacity by more than 300 million litres per day over the next 10 years. Cape Town would continue to rely on rain-fed dams for most of its water, which was much cheaper than alternative supply sources.

The city’s commitment was to transform Cape Town over time into a more resilient and water-sensitive city. This would be done through new incentives and regulatory mechanisms as well as the way the city invested – in consultation with residents, the statement said.

"The recent drought was a harsh lesson for us all. This strategy is the product of extensive work conducted by the city in consultation with a range of local and international experts in the field of water, and has been created to protect Cape Town from the harsh effects of drought in the future, and we aim to do everything possible to avoid the implementation of such severe water restrictions again," mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said in the statement.

"We have to be prepared for the likelihood of increasing risk and vulnerability in the coming years in the face of climate change, the growth of alien vegetation, delays in building new surface water schemes, and over-allocation of the integrated water system.

"We have now entered a time characterised by great uncertainty, where previous models for weather predictions and associated planning can no longer be relied upon. I have great confidence in the strategy and would like to encourage all residents to engage with it during this period, and share their considered inputs. Water supply and demand must be reconciled to ensure that there is sufficient water available to meet anticipated demand," Limberg said.

Interested parties could submit their comments online to www.capetown.gov.za/haveyoursay, or in writing at subcouncil offices. 

African News Agency (ANA)