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 …

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 …

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 …

Singapore as livable city

How managers are tapping into new ideas for Singapore’s water supply

Imagine standing at the edge of a lake. The water is dotted with a rich variety of birds. It’s weekend, and you are enjoying a lazy afternoon with your family, ambling along the paved walkway that runs like a neat pencil-line along the lake. Now imagine that the lake is actually a water treatment plant. Tough to believe? In Singapore, …

Copenhagen capital of Denmark

How this city gets the best tap water in the world

Hygge. It souns something like hoo-gha, and describes a feeling of cozy contentment by enjoying the simple things in life. It’s big here in Denmark, and I understand why. Simple things here are good; better than good even. Take the tap water as example. In Danish capital Copenhagen, the tap water is said to be the best in the world. …

The Limpopo River, where it runs through the Kruger National Park, forming a border with Zimbabwe.

A brutal drought in Kruger, a beautiful lesson from nature

It was a warm and sunny day, perfect for visitors to soak-up the world-renowned wildlife sightings of the Kruger National Park. But not everybody enjoyed what the wilderness put on display. It was a hippopotamus. She was stuck in the mud left behind in the wake of the river’s retreat. Too hot, she lay panting under the brutal sun. Too …

Two thirsty cities on how they save water now, and for the future

Some cities have to look further than ever before in search of water.  They pump it from further away, look for it underground, take it from the sea, or might tow it from Antarctica.  However, finding more water is only a part of the solution. “As the saying goes: you can’t build yourself out of a drought,” says Priya Reddy, …