Avoiding the next Cape Town: Water strategy is a shared responsibility

Shutterstock How does a city run out of water?
What we do know, however, is that Cape Town is not alone, with a recent report exposing 11 other cities at risk.
On the surface, the underlying story is about a failure in how the public sector manages water.
In other words, water is too often treated as a taken-for-granted asset, rather than a strategic resource for economic development, social well-being and ecosystem health.
In thinking through the Cape Town crisis, therefore, it is unfair to place all the blame onto the public sector.
If these fundamental drivers of water scarcity are not addressed, with costs shared proportionately, we hinder the public sector’s ability to ensure water resiliency and security.
The key is whether we will act now and plan for the future.
In particular, the private sector has an essential role to play in devising technology and infrastructure solutions.
Innovation: We need a broader view of innovation beyond technology to include business models, financing/funding, public policy and partnerships.
We have a shared responsibility to manage our scarce fresh water supplies.

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