How Windhoek banks on water security underground

If you’ve been to Namibia, the country’s strained relationship with water is obvious. The parched landscape makes for an impressive sight. Dunes that undulate from glaringly white to copper red attract visitors from afar. At places, a lone aloe might break the otherwise bare horizon. The bitterly cold Atlantic that runs along its coast jealously guards moisture, rarely letting enough …

Windhoek, Namibia

How Windhoek taps water from sewage

For obvious reasons, sewage is unappealing and drinking it, completely unfathomable. Yet, while most of the world is still debating if you should even try to treat household sewage to drinkable standards, Windhoek has been tapping water from it for decades. In 2018, Namibians marked the 50th anniversary of the first direct potable (drinking-quality standard) reuse plant in the world, …

San Francisco, water demand managment experts

San Francisco embraces wastewater for bright future

In San Francisco, all water is seen to be of value; as little as possible should be wasted. So much so that, in 2012, San Francisco became the first municipality in the country to adopt groundbreaking legislation to allow onsite non-potable water systems. Tapping from alternative water sources The Non-potable Water Ordinance allows for the use of alternative water sources …

Wastewater management in cities

Wastewater management – the blessing in the curse

Nowadays, cities seem to be the places to be for more and more people. For one, they can get access to better services, like water and sewage. In fact, the United Nations says that, between 1998 and 2008 alone, 1 052 million people accessed better drinking water in cities. A whopping 813 million accessed better sanitation, and the numbers are …

Johannesburg stormwater management

The promise and peril of stormwater management in Johannesburg

Founded in 1886, Johannesburg is one of the world’s youngest major cities. The metropole grew up fast, however, quickly taking on enormous proportions – both in size and impact. Expanding from a tented camp, to a town of tin shanties, it soon morphed into a city of modern skyscrapers. Today is the commercial, industrial and financial hub of South Africa. …

Is sustainable stormwater management possible in Durban?

The promise and peril of stormwater management in Durban

Durban’s location is at once a blessing and a curse. While the city hugs world renowned beaches, it is also placed squarely in the way of rainwater on the way there. As for any city, the route and impact of stormwater in Durban depends very much on where it is placed. Welcome to the eThekwini municipality The eThekwini Municipality, that …

Cape Town is a city built on natural features

The promise and peril of stormwater management in Cape Town

Cape Town is a place like no other. That’s why millions of local and international visitors stream to the city’s famous shores each year. A large part of the attraction is the natural environment that it’s built on – not only the famous Table Mountain, the endless beaches and the icy sea, but also a vast array of rivers and …

Atlantis Managed aquifer recharge_

Pushed aside, Atlantis once took the lead for water wise cities

In fiction, Atlantis is a city that fell out of favour with the deities and sank to the bottom of the ocean. In South Africa, the town of Atlantis had similarly volatile dealings with the powers that be. But, it will go down in history books as a place that rose above one of its biggest challenges. Placed far away …

Gough Island by Tom ScSherry

Gough: The remote island that brings the weather close to home

Every October, a small crowd gathers at the East Pier Quay at Cape Town to welcome the SA Agulhas II home. On-board is a small group of people that just spent a year at one of the most remote places on Earth with a constant human presence. It’s called Gough Island. The Subantarctic and Antarctic are extreme regions both in …

How green roofs save Toronto on the cheap

Toronto, Canada’s most populous metropolitan area, sits anchored on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. The city is incredibly diverse. The roughly 2.7 million people here speak over 160 languages. The city rests on a broad sloping plateau crossed with rivers and ravines, though the skyline is marked by skyscrapers and high-rise buildings. The city is famous for being one …

Growing_cities

One thing cities that need water MUST do

While reports of cities running out of water worldwide are streaming in, some cities are learning to cope. Somewhat perplexing, these places often also suffer from drought, have to cope with more people and manage with old and creaky pipes. Yet sometimes, without having to immediately find more water, the people that live there don’t suffer for it. These places …

Wastewater management in cities

The map that helped save Cape Town

Around 2016 to 2018 an extraordinary drought swept through Cape Town. The effect on the famous city was so severe, officials asked residents to stick to dramatic water restrictions. Capetonians had to limit their household water use to 50 litres of water per person per day. Across the world, people sat up and took notice; especially when the mayor announced …

What lessons did Cape Town learn from Day Zero?

Lessons from Cape Town’s Day Zero

Cape Town made international headlines in 2018 when the mayor announced it could soon run out of enough water. That day, “Day Zero” never arrived, but South Africa’s water crisis still paints a bleak future. Gareth Morgan, the City of Cape Town’s Director for Resilience, shared the lessons Cape Town learned from Day Zero, and how they are building a …