Pathways to water resilient South African cities


Start date: 1 May, 2019 End date: 31 October, 2022 Project type: Research collaboration projects in growth and transition countries (Window 2) Project code: 18-M05-KU Countries: South Africa Thematic areas: Urban development, Water management and sanitation, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Partner institutions: University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: Lise Herslund Total grant: 4,979,683 DKK

Project summary

This project aims to identify opportunities for supporting the integration of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) as nature-based solutions (NBS) for increased water supply and water quality within the urban water system as part of a broader transition towards water sensitive futures in the cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. The research will include physical experimentation with and evaluation of storm water harvesting for Managed Acquifer recharge (MAR) as decentralised water treatment infrastructure in Cape Town and an experimentation with, and evaluation of, the implementation of Water Sensitive Urban Design as nature-based solutions in Johannesburg. Additionally the aim is to assess how such solutions can be integrated with conventional water infrastructure as well as explore the governance processes necessary for enabling such integration of infrastructure and for supporting the emergent transitions to water sensitive futures in Cape Town and Johannesburg.


First year report
The objective of identifying opportunities for physical integration has been pursued. Designs for the physical experimentation with managed aquifer recharge are being developed and two case sites have been selected. Actual experimental work at the sites have not started yet. Methodology for assessing the effectiveness of already implemented water sensitive urban
design (WSUD) projects is also being developed and seven case sites have been selected. The objective of institutional integration of nature-based solutions has also been pursued. The assessment of the governance set-up in the implementation, management and learning of these seven projects are also being developed. A start-up stakeholder meeting has been held in each case city and 12 key stakeholders interviewed forming the basis for the mapping of key actors and institutions to take part in transition arena activities and for the assessment of the potential and entry points to transition. Two conference abstracts and one conference workshop proposal has been sent in for the IWA conference 2020.

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