Keeping water in the taps of a city the size of Cape Town is a team effort. It calls for a spectrum of people to work together to manage a water system that spreads for many kilometres beyond the urban edge of the city across the mountainous catchments with at least five major dams feeding it. The collaboration involves people responsible for the day-to-day operational decisions, through to those who handle the decades-long infrastructure planning and building, and many layers of technicians and bureaucrats in between.
Professor Declan Conway summarises key issues and recent findings discussed at his 2019 Gerald Lacey Lecture and asks how African nations can best prepare for the effects and consequences of climate change.
Lusaka is one of Africa’s fastest growing cities, and urban densification and economic growth will call for more strategic planning of its water supply and infrastructure. The Zambian capital has enough water supply for the foreseeable future, however the growing demand for this resource from city users, the hydro-power scheme on the river which supplies Lusaka’s electricity, and the sugarcane industry upriver of the city, will call for greater cooperation between the city and various government departments that are responsible for these different sectors.
Dr Conni Klein was stuck. She was working with a team of scientists to build a computer model that will help them understand how years of clearing-felling tropical forest in the Ivory Coast, and replacing them largely with mono-crop cocoa plantations might change how clouds form here during the monsoon period, and what this could mean for rainfall.
The first hurricane-strength storm to be recorded in Mozambique made landfall last week in the north of the country, less than a month after Cyclone Idai wiped out an estimated 90 percent of the infrastructure in the coastal city of Beira, about 1 000 km up the coast of the country’s capital, Maputo, in March.
Residents of the Mozambican city of Beira may not have had enough agency to respond adequately to storm warnings issued by the state meteorological services ahead of the arrival of Cyclone Idai this month, because they may not have had anything to compare a storm of this magnitude to.
When climate and social science researchers sat down with a roomful of city managers and technicians in the Namibian capital of Windhoek in August 2018, someone from the city’s wastewater treatment plant threw them a curve-ball: what, she asked, are the projections for when water temperatures in the city might climb beyond a certain point?
In June 2018 around 1300 scientists, practitioners, community members and policy makers from all over the world gathered in Cape Town for a dialogue on adaptation solutions. I was among this group, participating in my first Adaptation Futures conference.
The provision of safely managed sanitation services for African cities was high on the agenda at the 7th Africa Water Week. 700 million Africans don’t have access to improved sanitation and massive a infrastructure gap and financing shortfall for the sector remains over Africa. FCFA hosted a discussion on the impacts of climate change on the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure, particularly for growing informal settlements that characterise urbanisation across the continent.