UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Developing new urban water supplies : Investigating motivations and barriers to groundwater use in Cape Town, South Africa Luker, Emma; Harris, Leila


Many cities are experiencing increasing water resource stress. In Cape Town, South Africa, surface water supplies are at a record low due to a multi-year drought crisis which began in 2015. This paper analyzes the range of motivations, possibilities and obstacles related to diversifying Cape Town’s water supply system through the upscaling of groundwater resources. Drawing on insights from local experts, it is maintained that uncertainty surrounding groundwater and drought management practices present significant barriers to Cape Town’s ongoing water diversification efforts. This paper provides further insight and discussion for future water planning in Cape Town, as well as for other urban, water scarce, regions.

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