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Integrated water resource planning in the city of Cape Town

Water Research Commission (WRC)
Publication Date
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Law
  • Philosophy


Over the last decade the approach to dealing with an increasing water demand in the Cape Metropolitan Area (CMA) has progressively shifted from a supply oriented philosophy to one where strategies for reducing the demand are integrated with supply management. While there is still much to be done to implement a totally integrated approach, a firm foundation has been laid. Water demand management as an approach became increasingly prominent in the CCT supply area in the mid 1990s. Accordingly, a Water Demand Management Section was formed in the Water Department of the former Cape Metropolitan Council (CMC). This section was instrumental in shifting the approaches to water demand management in the 6 local councils in the CMA. Towards the end of 1999 it became increasingly clear that there was a need to adopt an integrated water resource planning approach to manage the future water demand. As a result, the former CMC appointed consultants to carry out an “Integrated Water Resource Planning” (IWRP) study. The results of the IWRP study indicate that a significant saving in water demand could be achieved through the implementation of water demand management initiatives. In comparison to the water supply options, the water demand management initiatives would have a significantly lower implementation cost, could be implemented in a shorter time frame and were generally more environmentally and socially acceptable. Recommendations were made to the new City of Cape Town (CCT) – formed in December 2000 through the amalgamation of the former CMC and the 6 local councils - on where to focus their resources and attention with the aim of meeting and managing the water demand. The water demand in the CCT has decreased significantly since November 2000. This can be attributed to the recent water restrictions as well as the implementation of water demand management initiatives. The reduction in water demand has delayed the need for the implementation of additional water augmentation schemes other than the Berg Water Project.. Water SA Vol. 30 (5) 2005: pp.100-104

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