Unpacking the Cape Town Drought: Lessons Learned

The severe drought experienced by Cape Town between 2015 and 2018 and the imminent threat of “Day Zero” should serve as a warning for other cities as to what climate impacts might look like in future. This paper, Gina Ziervogel, unpacks the governance of the drought in Cape Town, in order to understand what conditions led to a crisis of this magnitude. A number of lessons are offered to share with other cities, municipalities and those trying to strengthen capacity to cope with climate extremes and build a water-wise city. These lessons focus on strengthening the institutional and governance response but also link to other aspects of water management, including data, communication and knowledge as well as taking a systems approach and building adaptive capacity.

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