This edition of Monday Paper highlights National Water Week, celebrated from 18 to 24 March, and profiles several UCT research projects and developments that have water as their focus.
The Flooding in Cape Town under Climate Risk (FliCCR) project team, which involves a number of departments at UCT, held a successful workshop on 1 March at the River Club in Observatory.
The workshop was a platform to feed back the findings of recent research and stimulate dialogue between officials from the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Provincial Government, and NGOs, community organisations and residents.
According to Warren Smit, researcher at the African Centre for Cities, flooding of informal settlements in Cape Town is a serious problem. Every winter thousands of households on the Cape Flats are severely affected by flooding, resulting in displacement, damage to dwellings and possessions, disruption of livelihoods and ill-health.
The FliCCR project, which started three years ago, has been exploring how to address this problem and has involved workshops and interviews with officials, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community organisations and residents in an attempt to better understand the roles and perspectives of various actors involved in reducing flood risk or responding to flooding of the city's informal settlements. The project also stimulates dialogue between these actors, which it believes will proactively help to reduce flooding.
The FliCCR project is a collaborative research initiative, funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Department for International Development (DfID), and is run through the African Centre for Cities. It involves various departments at UCT as well as the Stockholm Environment Institute.
The project team is led by principal investigator and senior lecturer Dr Gina Ziervogel, of Environmental and Geographical Science. Other members are: Warren Smit, researcher, African Centre for Cities; Joy Waddell, PhD student, Environmental and Geographical Science; Laura Drivdal, PhD student, Centre for Criminology; Kevin Musungu, former master's student, Geomatics; Julian Smit, Geomatics; and Anna Taylor, researcher, African Centre for Cities.
"The workshop was extremely successful in achieving its objective of stimulating dialogue," says Ziervogel. "Some participants were initially sceptical of attending yet another talkshop, but its interactive nature helped participants network and share knowledge. We identified a number of practical actions for reducing flood risk in Cape Town."
The key recommendations are to facilitate better collaboration between organisations (including city departments, NGOs and community organisations) and ensure greater involvement of informal settlement residents in decision-making about interventions to reduce the risk of flooding.
Over the next few months the FliCCR project team will continue to support collaboration to proactively reduce the risk of flooding in informal settlements in Cape Town.
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