Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille says it could take the Mother City at least three years to recover from the devastating extended drought.
De Lille was addressing delegates at the Adaptation Futures 2018 – the world’s leading conference on climate change adaption hosted at Cape Town international Convention Centre (CTICC) this week.
The mayor admitted that the City has many lessons to learn where climate change is concerned.
“One thing that I can tell you that we have learned in terms of adaptation is that we had to reduce our water demand and our water usage,” De Lille said.
“In January 2016, as a collective the City of Cape Town we used over 1.1-billion litres of water per day. As we speak today, in 2018, we have been able to bring down that water consumption to just over 500-million litres of water per day. So the opportunity out of the drought, I believe that Cape Town will emerge as one of the most water resilient cities in the world because of how we had to adapt and how we also had to mitigate all of the challenges.”
The country’s very first water fund was launched in the City of Cape Town in February. This fund entails the introduction of a public-private partnership to protect and conserve watersheds, as well as other water resources.
The City’s various water conservation programmes have created thousands of jobs, and led to the training of essential artisans such as plumbers who have gone on to repair leaks and pipes in the City’s communities.
“If we had not done that for the past 15 years, we would have actually found the drought far worse than it is now and I must also say that it was in 2015 when we received an international reward for our water conversation from the C40 cities,” De Lille said.
This is the fifth annual Adaptation Futures conference, and over 1 200 delegates from various countries across the globeare expected to attend. This is the first year that the conference is hosted in an African country.
On Monday, dam level were recorded at 38.1% full, higher than it was the same time a year ago. Rainfall in catchment areas has made a massive difference to the dam levels.
Even though the City has a long way to go before everyone can relax, it is a good sign that the dams are slowly beginning to fill up.