Cape Town - The Table Mountain Water Source Partnership was launched at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and aims to help Cape Town become water secure, even in the face of future droughts brought on by climate change.
In recent years, 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.
But, the drought also highlighted the risk of over-abstraction in the absence of coherent management and monitoring plan.
This realisation prompted World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), with funding from AB InBev, to pilot a citizen groundwater monitoring project as a first step towards safeguarding this resource.
As a next step, the 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, the Danish Embassy, the Department of Water and Sanitation, Green Cape, the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape, the 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 the 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.
“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,” said WWF CEO Dr Morné du Plessis.
Danish Ambassador to South Africa Tobias Elling Rehfeld said that the Danish government had invested R11-million into the Table Mountain Water Source Partnership because they believe that a collaborative approach is the best way to fully realise the sustainable potential of groundwater in South Africa.
‘’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,“ Rehfeld said.