consequences that could easily result in widespread conflict and socio-economicinstability. These challenges are exacerbated by the fact that the City has limitedcontrol over the influx of an estimated 7,700 households per annum; an averagepopulation growth rate of 2.5% (2001 - 2006) which is likely to continue at a rateof 1.3% to 2016 and beyond; and an expected population of 4 255 847 by 2031(CoCT, 2007). These factors alone compromise the City’s efforts to realize itsself-proclaimed vision of becoming a leader in the provision of equitable,sustainable, people-centred, affordable and credible water services (CoCT,2007:17). In essence the City is involved in a struggle to control the consumptionof a finite resource amidst unreasonable demand, where the biophysicalenvironmental is no longer able to absorb pollution or to dilute wastewateradequately, and where the investment in fixed assets and human resources isseverely constrained by a limited budget and human capacity.
2. Troubled waters: an overview of the City’s water supply and demand
Surface runoff in South Africa comprises approximately 9% of the totalprecipitation, while the remaining 91% either evaporates or infiltrates. Theconversion ratio of rainfall to runoff for the country as a whole is among thelowest in the world compared to the global average of 35% (Shultz, 1997).Currently surface water resources for the City represent 440.5 Mm
/year, or a97% total yield. Between 70 and 75% of the City’s raw water requirements areobtained from dams owned by the South African Department of Water Affairs andForestry (DWAF) all of which fall outside the boundaries of the City’s catchment.Only 15% of the raw water requirements are met from sources within the CapeMetropolitan Area (CMA). It is projected that existing water resources, includingthe new Berg River Water Scheme, will meet Cape Town’s water demand untilapproximately 2013 provided a low water demand projection is maintained (SeeFigure 3 and the discussion later). While groundwater might be a further option toconsider, it is estimated that the total yield is little more than 6.64 Mm
/year,representing only 1.5% of the total yield. Of critical importance is the relationshipbetween groundwater and surface water. Groundwater can only be abstracted ona sustainable basis at a rate less than, or equal to, its long-term averagerecharge of rainwater. Over-extraction will result in the drying of rivers andwetlands, a reduction in subsurface flow and groundwater failure.In April 2007 the input into the reticulation system was estimated to be 268Mm
/year, the non-revenue demand being 62 Mm
/year and real losses of 47Mm
/year. The distribution of this water demand for 2006/7 is represented bydifferent categories of consumers (Figure 1). Of note is the relatively large