Modelling the Western Cape's water future: prudent investment and management required
Stellenbosch University Western Cape Green Economy Model (WeCaGEM)
Winner: Green Economy Modelling
If business as usual continues with the transition to a green economy, the water resource infrastructure implications are dire: the Western Cape may suffer extreme water shortages. This is according to Stellenbosch University’sWestern Cape Green Economy Model(WeCaGEM).
However, with sufficient investment and effective management, the demands of the province can be met. Hence, a system dynamics model was developed to evaluate the impact of key strategic interventions in the green economy transition.
Water conservation and water demand management, augmentation of surface water bodies and groundwater extraction, wastewater reuse, and large-scale desalination were all analysed as investment and management interventions.
Investment in a combination of these interventions was found to be the most efficient way to meet the future water demands of the Western Cape.
The department of water affairs, City of Cape Town, Statistics South Africa, Green Cape, and a number of other academic and research institutions were all engaged to populate the model with the data required for creating an effective model.
Overall, this process ensures a better understanding of the interrelationships and systemic problems linked to water resources and the green economy transition.
The model can also be replicated by other industries interested in transitioning to a green economy.