Water for sustainable development

Project Description

GreenCape and the African Climate and Development Initiative from the University of Cape Town are collaborating on a 3-year project titled “Towards sustainable economic development in water-constrained catchments: tools to empower decision making”. 

This project is funded by the Water Research Commission and Western Cape Department of Economic Development & Tourism. This project builds on research completed during 2013-15 on the evaluation of water as a constraint to economic development in Saldanha Bay. It aims to develop new solutions and approaches for water resources planning and allocation, economic development decision making, and governance of water and economic development. 

The project focus is on Saldanha Bay within the Berg River Catchment as this is a water constrained area with high expectations for future economic growth. The impacts envisioned for the project include taking steps towards a “Smart Water Economy” in Saldanha Bay where the right source of water is sold at the right price for the right development; and informing decision-making for economic development and water resources interventions in Saldanha Bay that avoids water-related constraints on development.

Project Aims

  • To develop a guideline for a planning approach that recognizes the cyclic interdependency of economics and water resources
  • To conduct an economic, social and environmental Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) and Cost Effective Analysis of economic developments and water resource interventions
  • To build a spatial hydro-economic model for use as a tool to manage regional allocations in constrained catchments, which can be customized for use in other regions/ contexts
  • To develop research products in close collaboration with decision-makers, and implement research outcomes to address current development challenges

Project Approach

GreenCape is the coordination and implementation hub for the project and has commissioned a number of applied research studies from UCT Masters students and external researchers. The image below outlines the project approach. For more detail on each of the studies or on the project, please contact Claire Pengelly.

Key Reading

The resources listed here are essential reading, which provide a greater overview of the opportunities in this sector. For other related tools, resources and information see the Library 

2014 Executive Summary: Water as a Constraint on Economic Development

2015 Report: Water as a Constraint on Economic Development

2015 Workshop Report: Supporting Sustainable Development in Water-Constrained Catchments

2016 Workshop Report: Supporting Sustainable Development in Water-Constrained Catchments 

2016 Workshop Report Appendices: Supporting Sustainable Development in Water-Constrained Catchments 



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