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 …

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 …

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 …

Too little, too dirty, too much, at the wrong time and place: South Africa’s water crisis

South Africa’s ‘looming’ water crisis crashed onto international front pages that day when Cape Town announced it might run out of water. However, many would say a major catastrophe has been hiding in clear sight for decades. We are running out of water. Digging into the details, it’s clear the crisis hasn’t been looming for a long time already. South …

What is a water resilient city?

Have you noticed that as we built ourselves closer to necessities like roads, we have detached ourselves from water? It’s not uncommon for cities that suffer from water shortages, to also suffer from floods. People might see rain fall outside their windows, but not have enough coming from their taps. Often, people are surrounded by water, but are unable to …

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 …

Jason Mingo talks about what a water resilient city is.

We lost people’s trust

“Water is connection. During the drought, when we almost ran out of water, we saw things come to the fore that we never thought about because so many things are connected to water. Water also has the power to transform. It can transform relationships within and between communities. This continues to motivate me to do the work that I do.  Before …