117 Shape of a Water Crisis: Practitioner Perspectives on Drought and Urban Water in South Africa

Monday, 13 January 2020
Hall B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Coleen Vogel, Univ. of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; and A. H. Lynch, G. Maree, Z. Bischoff-Mattson, D. Olivier, and D. Terblanche

Along with São Paulo and Mexico City, the city of Cape Town was among the first urban centers to face the imminent prospect of ‘Day Zero’: interruption of essential water supplies. As a nexus of climate vulnerability and adaptation planning, the city is a valuable case study for exploring complex natural resource management problems in the era of climate change. The 2018 water scarcity crisis in Cape Town and concerns about the robustness of water resources in Johannesburg are taking place in a highly progressive water regulatory regime, with constitutionally guaranteed rights of access to water. In this context, water utilities are faced with conflicting requirements to promote efficiency, achieve equity, encourage conservation, maintain revenue neutrality, and make pricing transparent to users. This presentation addresses the ways in which these competing mandates are handled by practitioners, and the extent to which institutions are failing or succeeding in their efforts to maintain water supply and quality, and adequate waste management.
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