Climate Change and Water
Climate Change and Water
The Western Cape is a water-scarce region. This situation will be further impacted by climate change which, in the Western Cape, is projected to lead to:
- Decreased average rainfall
- A change in seasonality, location and intensity of rainfall
- Increased temperatures
- Increased wind speeds
- Increased wild fires
All of these will have impacts on the availability of water.
Our province is already experiencing more frequent and severe weather events such as flooding, increased wind speeds, increased temperatures, less cold frost days, and more fires. These altered climatic conditions impact water infrastructure by disenabling effective infiltration to recharge groundwater, damaging infrastructure, increasing evaporation, and reducing the quality of the water resources.
There are no readily available surface water supply augmentation options beyond existing dams and rivers. Annual rainfall has been decreasing over the last few years as is indicated below. It is projected that rainfall in the Western Cape is likely to decrease by 30% by 2050.
Water is critical for the daily operational activities of all businesses across the province. Water security requires businesses to rethink the way they use and value water, and find ways to reduce water consumption. The Western Cape Government, together with key partners, is working closely with businesses to improve their water resilience and that of the Western Cape economy. This work is coordinated under the Economic Security Workstream, which falls under the activated provincial disaster centre.
As part of the Western Cape Government's response to the current drought, a number of workstreams have been established to address various aspects of the drought and support various sections of society.
The Economic Security Workstream comprises of partners from the Western Cape Government, GreenCape, the City of Cape Town, Wesgro, the Economic Development Partnership, as well as several business associations, and other key stakeholders.
The goal of the workstream is to reduce business risk and build the water sector to support water resilience in the Western Cape economy, with the following objectives:
To meet the above objectives, several strategies have been developed, including:
- Hosting and participating in engagements with businesses and support dialogues between businesses and local municipalities
- Supporting, coordinating and distributing drought communications materials to businesses
- Providing strategic and technical support to businesses
- Providing business support to develop the water sector
- Collating and analysing information on business interventions, water savings and/ or own supplies and economic impacts
- Providing information/process support to businesses having to downscale or close down due to water shortages (worst case scenario)
In response to business concerns around the water crisis, a Western Cape Business Support FAQ has been developed to address some of the issues that have been raised.