News.Jan 17, 2018

SIWI emphasizes need to plan for water variability in water scarce cities, such as Cape Town, on Swedish TV

Earlier today, SIWI’s Jens Berggren spoke about urban water challenges on Swedish national TV – specifically water shortage in Cape Town.

*Quotes translated from Swedish*

South Africa is rapidly running out of water after, for the third year in row, extremely low rainfall this winter. In combination with the growing population, the town’s water resources have quickly depleted. Residents are being urged to decrease their water usage, while the city takes on measures such as desalination of sea water.

Mr Berggren told the hosts of Morgonstudion that “[the residents of Cape Town] have not adjust their water usage to the changes in water supply, but an adjustment is hard to come by.

“Why it’s hard to handle water shortage is due to a combination of culture and infrastructure,” he explained.

Water shortages are not exclusive to Cape Town. The same pattern can be seen on several continents, as well as in countries traditionally viewed as water-secure, such as Sweden.

Innovative solutions such as desalination were raised: “It works, but it’s costly, both in money but primarily in energy,” Mr Berggren said.

On the question whether Cape Town will cope with its drought, he replied: “There is no alternative, they will have to. It will be tough, but yes, they will have to.”

Watch the short clip here (in Swedish).
For the full interview, click here and go to 19 m 50 s.