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Hydrogeology Journal

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 823–826 | Cite as

Making effective use of groundwater to avoid another water supply crisis in Cape Town, South Africa

  • David W. Olivier
  • Yongxin XuEmail author
Essay
  • 1.1k Downloads

Abstract

The infamous drought of 2015–2017 in Cape Town (South Africa) provides important lessons on water governance. While it is undeniable that an unprecedented sequence of two record-low rainfall years instigated the ‘water crisis’, this essay argues that the severity of the drought may have been mitigated by good governance, both in terms of diversifying water sources and managing existing supplies. Historically, water authorities have focussed on surface-water resources for Cape Town’s water supply. Cape Town’s ample groundwater has not been utilised to any notable extent. It is concluded that the crisis, once passed, may be viewed as auspicious, for not only did it provide the impetus to adapt Cape Town’s water supply, thereby better incorporating its groundwater resources, but the crisis stands as a case in point to justify future investments in water security, not only for Cape Town, but for other cities as well.

Keywords

South Africa Groundwater management Legislation Water supply Sub-Saharan Africa 

Utilisation efficace des eaux souterraines pour éviter Une autre crise d’approvisionnement en eau à Cape Town, Afrique du Sud

Résumé

La tristement célèbre sécheresse de 2015–2017 au Cap (Afrique du Sud) est riche en enseignements concernant la gouvernance de l’eau. Bien qu’il soit indéniable qu’une période sans précédent de duex années déficitaires en précipitations ait provoqué la « crise de l’eau », cet essai fait valoir que la sévérité de la sécheresse aurait pu être atténuée par une bonne gouvernance, tant en termes de diversification des sources d’eau qu’en gestion des approvisionnements existants. Historiquement, les autorités de l’eau se sont concentrées sur les ressources en eau de surface pour l’approvisionnement en eau de la ville du Cap. L’abondante ressource en eau souterraine au niveau de la ville du Cap n’a pas été utilisée à la juste mesure. On en conclut que la crise, une fois passée, peut être considérée comme propice, non seulement car elle a donné l’élan nécessaire pour adapter l’approvisionnement eau de la ville du Cap, et donc pour mieux y intégrer les ressources en eaux souterraines, mais cette crise est en fait un bon exemple pour justifier d’investissements futurs pour garantir la sécurité en approvisionnement en eau, non seulement pour la ville du Cap, mais aussi pour d’autres villes.

Uso efectivo del agua subterránea Para evitar otra crisis de suministro de agua en ciudad del Cabo, Sudáfrica

Resumen

La infame sequía de 2015–2017 en Ciudad del Cabo (Sudáfrica) ofrece lecciones importantes sobre la gobernanza del agua. Si bien es innegable que una secuencia sin precedentes de dos años de precipitaciones provocó la “crisis del agua”, este ensayo sostiene que la severidad de la sequía pudo haber sido mitigada por una buena gobernanza, tanto en términos de diversificación de fuentes de agua como en la gestión de suministros existentes. Históricamente, las autoridades del agua se han centrado en los recursos hídricos superficiales para el suministro de agua de Ciudad del Cabo. Las abundantes aguas subterráneas de Ciudad del Cabo no se han utilizado en forma significativa. Se concluye que la crisis, una vez pasada, puede considerarse como favorable, ya que no solo proporcionó un impulso para adaptar el suministro de agua de Ciudad del Cabo, con una mayor incorporación de sus recursos de agua subterránea, sino que la crisis es un buen ejemplo para justificar futuras inversiones en seguridad del agua, no solo para Ciudad del Cabo, sino también para otras ciudades.

有效利用地下水资源避免南非开普敦水危机的再次发生

摘要

(南非)开普敦市2015–2017年可怕的干旱为水管理提供了重要的教训。不可否认的是,史无前例的连续二年稀少降雨的引起了“水危机”,但本文确认为,从水源的多样化以及有效地管理现有的供水渠道来看,干旱的严重程度本来可能由于很好的管理得到缓解。历史上,水管理机构为开普敦市供水主要是集中在地表水源上, 开普敦丰富的地下水没有得到充分的利用。结论就是,危机一旦过去,就可以看做是幸运,因为它不仅为改进开普敦市的供水提供动力,更好地利用地下水,而且危机还可以作为恰好的例子用来为开普敦市同时也为其它城市争取未来水安全上的投资。

Fazendo uso efetivo das águas subterrâneas Para evitar outra crise de abastecimento de água na Cidade do Cabo, África do Sul

Resumo

A infame seca de 2015–2017 na Cidade do Cabo (África do Sul) oferece lições importantes sobre a governança da água. Embora seja inegável que uma sequência sem precedentes de dois anos de baixa precipitação registrada instigou a “crise da água”, este ensaio argumenta que a gravidade da seca poderia ter sido mitigada pela boa governança, tanto em termos de diversificação de fontes de água quanto de gerenciamento de suprimentos existentes. Historicamente, as autoridades de recursos hídricos concentraram-se em recursos de águas superficiais para o abastecimento de água da Cidade do Cabo. As amplas águas subterrâneas da Cidade do Cabo não foram utilizadas de forma notável. Conclui-se que a crise, uma vez superada, pode ser vista como auspiciosa, pois não só proporcionou o ímpeto para adaptar o abastecimento de água da Cidade do Cabo e, assim, incorporar melhor seus recursos hídricos subterrâneos, mas a crise apresentou-se como um evento pelo qual justificam-se investimentos futuros em segurança hídrica, não apenas para a Cidade do Cabo, mas também para outras cidades.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Dr. Olivier would like to thank the Africa Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (ACCAI) Network and the Open Society Foundation for supporting his fellowship at the Global Change Institute.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Global Change InstituteUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburg, WitsSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of the Western CapeBellvilleSouth Africa
  3. 3.Institute of Africa Water Resources and EnvironmentHebei University of EngineeringHandanChina

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