Flooding happens annually in Cape Town’s informal settlements. The impact on residents’ lives is enormous, yet people have few resources to cope. They are also society’s most vulnerable: often unemployed, living in shacks, and with nowhere else to settle but where the water gathers each year. These communities will also bear the brunt of the likely increase in flood events as climate change makes the Cape’s heavy rains more severe and frequent.
We cannot avoid the underlying reasons for why these communities find themselves in such vulnerable circumstances, or the fact that flooding-related humanitarian crises will continue to plague these communities and the city charged with assisting them. It’s critical to find sustainable, workable flooding responses, now. This means involving communities in flood-prone informal settlements in decision-making processes. The City of Cape Town is responsible for coordinating this response, but has difficulty when it comes to involving local communities.
Rising Waters: Working together on Cape Town’s flooding, written and edited by Leonie Joubert, and illustrated with photos Rodger Bosch, explores the challenges and opportunities of collaborative governance as a way to get a broader group of stakeholders involved in flooding responses, as part of our ongoing research through the Flooding in Cape Town under Climate Risk (FliCCR) project.
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