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Water Governance in Cape Town, South Africa

image of Water Governance in Cape Town, South Africa

In 2018, the city of Cape Town, South Africa, was close to the “Day Zero”, requiring all taps to be shut off and citizens to fetch a daily 25 litre per person. Though the day-zero was avoided, it is estimated that, at the current rate, South Africa will experience a 17% water deficit by 2030 if no action is taken to respond to existing trends. Lessons learned during that drought crisis have been valuable for the city to manage the short-term COVID-19 implications and design long-term solutions towards greater water resilience. As a result of a multi-stakeholder policy dialogue involving 100+ stakeholders from the city of Cape Town and South Africa, this report assesses key water risks and governance challenges in Cape Town, and provides policy recommendations towards more effective, efficient and inclusive water management building on the OECD Principles on Water Governance. In particular, the report calls for strengthening integrated basin governance, transparency, integrity, stakeholder engagement, capacities at all levels of government, financial sustainability and for advancing the water allocation reform to better manage trade-offs across multiple users.

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Strengthening water governance in Cape Town: Policy recommendations

This chapter suggests ways forward and policy recommendations to upscale the use and effective implementation of policy and economic instruments to bridge identified governance gaps in Cape Town and South Africa. It suggests in particular, strengthening water resource management and financing at the catchment level, promoting innovative approaches to manage water balance and complete water allocation reform, improving the economic regulation and financial sustainability and efficiency of water and sanitation services, enhancing capacity, as well as strengthening transparency, integrity and engagement.

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